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Following Coilte’s attempt to sell 39 acres, calls have been made to prohibit the sale of all publicly owned forestry.
Solidarity-PBP TD Richard Boyd Barrett has described the sale of State-owned forest by Coilte on a “regular basis” for residential and industrial development as a “absolute scandal.”
“We have a fundamentally broken forest model in which profit drives all decisions, even those made by the state forestry company. And as a result, the EPA stated a few years ago that we are experiencing net deforestation “‘He stated.
Mr Boyd Barrett stated that he received confirmation from Coilte last week that the public forest, which contains significant archaeological artefacts and is part of the Dublin Mountains Way, was being sold.
The land in Enniskerry, on the border of Dublin and Wicklow, was listed at €250,000.
Massive public outrage
Mr Boyd Barrett stated that following a “massive public outcry” over the weekend, Coilte contacted him to inform him that the company’s plans to sell the land had been abandoned.
“What was extremely telling about Coilte’s phone call. To begin, they stated that had we not raised it, it would have been sold, that it was already in the process of being advertised publicly, and that the context for the sale was quote ‘an interested party had approached Coilte in order to purchase it,’ which is an extraordinary admission in and of itself.”
‘We have a fundamentally broken forest model, where profit dictates what happens, even with the state forestry company,’ says Richard Boyd Barrett. Gareth Chaney,
Mr Boyd Barrett stated that Coilte maintains a list on its website titled “decisions for excision” that details public forests that have been sold in recent years with “no explanation.”
He stated that the government’s response to the climate and biodiversity crises is “completely inadequate.”
“In reality, public forest is being sold and privatised for commercial gain,” he said.
That statement sums up the Government’s policy of speaking from both sides of its mouth when it comes to addressing the climate and biodiversity crises, but in this case, we won.”
Mr Boyd Barrett stated that we must now ensure that no additional publicly owned forest is sold.
“We must continue to expand the public forest estate. We have the lowest forest cover in Europe, despite the fact that this country has the optimal conditions for tree growth.
“”While many people are unaware, trees grow faster in Ireland than anywhere else in Europe due to our climate conditions. However, we have 11% forest cover, compared to a national average of 30% “-35% in Europe,” he told reporters on the steps of Leinster House.
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