Sale of Coillte to put jobs at risk

Mon, Mar 4, 2013, 00:00

The sale of Coillte harvesting rights will undermine exports from the indigenous sawmill sector and put 2,500 jobs at risk, the Irish Exporters Association (IEA) has warned.

Calling on the Government to re-think its strategy of selling off State assets, and in particular its proposed sale of the Coillte harvesting rights, the IEA said that circumstances have changed since the original IMF/EU discussions took place in 2011.

“The proposed sale of Coillte’s forestry assets must be dropped. Ireland’s sawmill industry provides a significant source of supply for the added value wood products to the export sector. There are 2,500 employed in the sector whose jobs will be jeopardised by this proposed sale of Coillte’s harvesting rights,” said John Whelan, chief executive of the IEA.

“This is a flawed strategy which goes counter to the Jobs Strategy 2013 and should be revisited and revised with the involvement of the sawmill sector and the export sector”.

Instead of selling Coillte’s harvesting rights, the IEA has instead urged the Government to secure monies from the privatisation of other State assets which will not impact the export sector.

A report from the Irish Sawmills Council showed that the realisable value of a sale of the aforementioned rights to the Exchequer may be small when compared to the negative and potentially fatal impacts on the sawmill sector.

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