Government To Continue Coillte/UK Investment Fund Forestry Project

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The government is to continue with a forestry project between Coillte and a UK investment fund.

The government accepted a motion from Sinn Fein last night that called for the joint venture to be stopped but says the contracts have been signed at this stage.

Tipperary TD Martin Browne is accusing the Department of Agriculture of masking their failings in forestry by allowing  the joint venture to be used to help Ireland meet its forestry targets.

Several opposition TDs raised concerns about the project which is to help deliver 450,000 hectares of forestry in Ireland by 2050.

Farming bodies have also voiced concerns about the deal which is being put in place as the state body Coillte cannot legally obtain forestry planting premiums under state aid rules.

Meanwhile the Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine will meet this evening to discuss Forestry Policy and Strategy.

The Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue and Minister of State Senator Pippa Hackett will attend the committee meeting.

Committee Chair Deputy Jackie Cahill says Matters of interest to the Committee include the Department’s new afforestation strategy up to 2027, tree plantation targets, licencing issues, Coillte’s arrangement with private sector funds to manage long-term forestry development.