Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture, Matt Carthy TD, has announced that his party will bring forward a motion to the Dáil next week demanding that government immediately halt Coillte’s proposed joint venture with investment fund Gresham House.
Speaking today, Teachta Carthy said:
“A good forestry strategy is one that delivers for the environment, for the economy and for local communities. Currently, none are being served.
“If we fail on forestry, then we will fail on Climate Action. And, this government is drastically failing.
“Government has committed to annual targets of 8,000 hectares of afforestation. But under the current Fianna Fáil Minister and a Green Party Minister of State, afforestation rates are less than a third of those targets and the crisis is getting worse.
“The proposed Coillte joint venture with Gresham House has caused widespread concern among environmentalists, farmers, the forestry sector and local communities. The venture is not about Climate, it’s not even about tree-planting. For Gresham House, this venture is simply about corporate profit.
“The funds delivered through the venture will be solely for the purpose of purchasing agricultural land that farmers could plant on themselves if government delivered a workable regulatory framework.
“The Ministers for Agriculture and Public Expenditure are the shareholders, on behalf of the Irish people, of Coillte. They can, and they should, instruct Coillte to immediately stall this plan – Sinn Féin’s motion will give those Ministers a Dáil mandate to do just that.
“Our motion will also address the underlying issues that have led to the collapse of afforestation by directing government to publish a new forestry strategy as a matter of urgency and ensure that the new strategy prioritises afforestation undertaken by local communities, farmers, landowners and public bodies above investment management ventures.
“The Sinn Féin motion will provide all TDs with the opportunity to support our rural communities, stop Coillte’s proposed corporate land-grab, and deliver a forestry plan that will have the support of rural communities, help Ireland meet our Climate Action objectives and provide an economic benefit to local economies.”
The motion can be read here.