Farmers in forestry partnerships with Coillte have accused the body of denying them access to their plantations and changing locks on the gates to their lands.

Last week, the Oireachtas committee on agriculture heard from farmers who are in partnership with Coillte.

Sineád King, who appeared at the committee with her father, John, said that they have “no faith and no trust in Coillte”.

“They have failed us in every toss and turn up until this time,” she said.

King pointed out that they were denied access to their plantation. She said they had to request keys to gate locks from Coillte on a number of occasions, but when they got keys the locks were invariably changed.

Corcoran also claimed that she has been locked out of her plantation.

“They put a lock on the gate and never gave me a key. I have to climb the gate to get into my own land,” she said.

Corcoran claimed she had not been paid for thinnings from her plantation in south Tipperary, even though the partnership agreement stated that the landowners were entitled to 80% of the profits from such operations.

No breakdown of the weight of timber harvested during the thinning process was provided, she told the committee. And, she was not informed which sawmill took the timber.

John King said his experience of Coillte was similar. He said the partnership with the State forestry company was akin to a “dictatorship”.


Both Corcoran and King complained that agreements to meet annually to discuss the ongoing management of the plantations were not complied with by Coillte.

Sinead King also maintained that Coillte were now attempting to buy out their forestry partners and were not offering the market price for either the lands or standing forests.

Corcoran and the Kings were represented at the meeting by solicitor Donnacha Anhold, who said there was no transparency around revenues from thinning operations.

There was also a complete absence of consultation or dialogue between Coillte and many landowners involved in partnerships, Anhold added.

Committee chair Jackie Cahill said he found it “very hard to comprehend how a product can be taken off the land when there is a contract in place, and no weight docket given to the owner of the plantation”.

Other committee members

Similar sentiments were expressed by other committee members. Senator Paul Daly maintained that Coillte appeared to be in “breach of contract” if the evidence supplied by Corcoran and King was correct.

Senator Victor Boyhan said he was “shocked and disappointed” with Coillte and he called for the State body to be brought before the committee “to respond in a formal manner” to the allegations being made.

Deputy Cahill said there appeared to be a case for calling Coillte back before the committee.

“It is fair to say we will be in correspondence with Coillte; a lot of unanswered questions have been raised here,” he said.