Save Irelands Forests

Out of public gaze it looks like a sell-off of our forestry assets is being maneuvered into place, and it’s happening without discussion – public opinion not invited.

Colm McCarthy’s 2009 An Bord Snip Nua report suggested that the state ‘review the operations of Coillte with a view to realising optimal return through rationalisation, asset disposal and, possibly, privatisation’.

Coillte confusingly already considers itself a private limited company despite the fact that the European Court of Justice in Case C-339/00 determined that it is a public enterprise wholly owned and controlled by the State.

A key step in the process appears to be the ITT (31/1/2011) seeking an economic evaluation of the public goods provided by the forest estate. The closing date for submission is 18/2/2011.

SF were quick to pick up on the threat last year, and the Labour Party and FG have subsequently ruled out the possible privatisation of the state forestry company.
Despite the political statements you can’t help feeling there’s no smoke without fire, and hopefully the politicians won’t need to be reminded of their (honourably patriotic) stance after the general election.

The Woodland League have been tracking this for quite a while and are running a petition to demonstrate public support against a sell-off. In their own words they are ‘dedicated to restoring the relationship between people and their native woodlands’.

You can sign the petition here (or on the left) and I would urge you to do so – it might be public opinion that provides the last bastion of defence.



Save Irelands Forests — 15 Comments

  1. For the love of our Country, PLEASE DO NOT SELL OFF OUR FORESTS. Do not allow GM crops/seeds/feed into Ireland either.

    Please have a heart.


  2. For the love of our Country, PLEASE DO NOT SELL OFF OUR FORESTS. Do not allow GM crops/seeds/feed into Ireland either.

    Please have a heart.


    • they have a neck selling or irish woodlands to privite buyers ! WE MUST STAND UP TO THE GOVERMENT ABOUT THIS I KNOW I WILL !

      • Anyone having fifficulty supplying an email address to the petition shoul.d use the shift and 2 keys to supply the @ as tyhe settings are on an American system

  3. In a former Coillte forest in Kinlough Co Leitrim, we now have a ghost estate of 90+houses. They ignored the Millenium walk created in 1999 for year 2000! the developer mulched the trees and spent several months pounding in iron to find a foundation for rhe place that locals say the lake uses for overflow in winter. It is too small for NAMA and he has gone into liquidation!

  4. Broadleaf and mixed woodlands are an integral part of our ancient heritage and natural eco-system despite the deforestation of the 17th and 18th centuries. Essentially they are part of “cultural DNA”.

    Ireland shoud be actively re-forested over the next few decades and public ownership would ensure that broadleaf planting constitute more than 50% of our public and commercial woodlands.

    A cost effective environmental and culturally responsible reforestation/preservation programme can provide “essential lungs” within a part of Europe (i.e Britain, Benelux etc) which is densely populated while simultaneously promoting local eco-tourism and public education opportunities.

    IMHO an excess of 30,000 signatures in this petition is absolutely fantastic! However setting a target of 100,000 was (also IMHO) raising the” bar too high.” Within Europe( EU/Non EU etc) 1 million signatures is considered very effective so any Irish petition which exceeds 20,000 (including diaspora) signatures is great and would be equally effective.

  5. The reason for the sale is presumably the cost of maintaining such forests under state care. I was not aware of any proposal to sell off and co incidentally wrote to the Minister of State for Forestry and Agriculture yesterday in relation to his plans to extend planted areas by 36,000 acres or thereabouts over the next year. These planted areas are I imagine for soft wood but I did propose he consider planting 30 hard wood per acre and setting up a sponsorship scheme for each tree. From his viewpoint there is a potential income prior to harvest that may exceed the return on soft wood but that is for him to work out. Perhaps the same thinking could apply to existing wood land. Would any of the 30,000 who have signed up to the Woodland League campaign be willing to sponsor a tree under their family name in the county of their ancestors. If you are why don't you tell him.
    I appreciate it may not be what you want to hear but Perhaps sometimes we have to pay to Protect.
    I may write again to him today and suggest he consider this for the existing and ancient woodlands of Ireland.

  6. I think this is as much a global issue as it is a local issue. The selling off of public land and resources to private companies. Clearly if things like this are not tackled on a local level then potential ecological abuses would go unchecked and unnoticed. Frank is right though, public sponsorship and volunteer involvement is a good idea. It is natural to put time and money into taking care of what you own and love.

  7. I agree with the commenter above that this is a global issue as well as a local one. My family is from Ireland and goes back to visit every few years. There are also many forests and public land being sold in the US, some of them areas that were preserved to maintain the quality of the groundwater. We all need to pull together to keep these important natural areas pristine – volunteering is a great way to help and I do it locally.
    My recent post Clarifying concepts with the page recorder

  8. The sell off of small, Government owned forest sites in the UK was seen off by the very strong rejection by individuals. The same will be so for Ireland.

    But can anyone clarify what is being proposed to be sold? Is it the wood, the land, the carbon rights in the wood, the carbon rights in the soil? Forests are very complex natural assets, and when they are being sold it is often not clear what is proposed to be sold.

  9. Urgent appeal to all dear friends!

    Ex-prime minister of Ireland, leader of last government, which is being much blamed in leading Ireland into it’s current economic crisis, is lobbying Irish current government into huge sale-off of Irish national treasure – it’s native woodlands to China Investment Group.

    Please help in voting against this sickening act on voting site to make intelligent voices to be heard! Link is following:

    Despite some softening arguments such as the land under those forests would continue to belong to Ireland and only wood being cut and imported, any person with brains would know and see what is behind this!

    The reality is that government is in trouble in filling the holes, caused big time by the previous government, leaded by the same man now lobbying for that deal (Bertie himself is a big stakeholder in the benefiting company) so it would solve few issues in short term, but…

    Long term approach should be always prevalent in decision-making process so government shall do all to keep managing those forests, which ultimately belong to IRISH people, both current and all future generations and no such deal should be allowed at any cost!

    Rather than making a “quick buck” from selling Irish native Woodlands to Chinese, who, with all respect, do not give a damn about Irish People or its magnificent country, Irish government shall take serious steps to:

    * manage those woodlands sustainably concerning both people and its habitant wildlife with clear long term strategies in place

    * keep jobs in the country and support local entrepreneurs to add as much value to a timber, provided by those woodlands such as making furniture, building products etc. rather than selling logs off port falling onto same level as third world countries!

    “We didn’t inherit our lands from our ancestors but we borrowed it from our children!” said Great Indian Chief, Sitting Bull

    Please help to make voices heard!

    Thank you!

  10. No generation has the right to sell our forests, they are our heritage, the lifeblood of our identity.
    Selling them would be like selling the soul of this country.
    An act as short sighted and selfish as this would be far worse than any economic problem.
    The government has no right to sell these precious Irish Forests, they belong to our children and our children’s children.

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