Sinn Féin spokesperson for Agriculture, Claire Kerrane TD, has responded to new Forestry Statistics published today, stating that these figures highlight the Government’s continued failure to delivery on Forestry.
The report is compiled and published annually by Department for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, and provides key statistics on the forestry sector in the State.
Speaking today, Teachta Kerrane said:
“Today’s report further underlines what we already know – that the Government have failed and continue to fail to deliver on forestry.
“The newly-published Forestry Sector statistics show that not only have key forestry metrics plummeted in recent years, they remain at some of the lowest levels of the past decade.
“For example, there was just 2,273ha of afforestation in 2022. This is compared with 6,652ha of afforestation in 2022.
“There is an annual target of 8,000ha of afforestation, yet we are looking at a combined total of 6,723 for the past three years.
“As well as this, the report starkly highlights the lack of confidence in the sector from farmers and foresters and the impact this has had on buy-in in recent years.
“For example, in 2017 there was 536 farmers involved in afforestation in the State. This number has dropped to just 76 as of 2022.
“The statistics published today make clear that this Government has mismanaged forestry. We are now 8 months into 2023 and desperately need the new Forestry Programme in place.
“There remains a lack of clarity and uncertainty about when that will be. Farmers and foresters have called for information to be provided on the status of the new programme but, this has not been provided.
“In fact, we are still awaiting further clarity on the approved €308m for afforestation that was announced last week.
“Given the serious challenges facing the forestry sector, which are underlined by today’s Forestry Statistics report, it is alarming that the Government have not provided the sector with further update on the status of other measures within the Programme.
“Farmers and foresters need certainty. I am calling on Minister Hackett to provide an update on the new Forestry Programme in full.”