Speaking to Damien O’Reilly on Today with RTÉ’s Sean O’Rourke on Friday morning, Gallagher was critical of the way regulation was being overlooked in the county.

“There are rules and regulations regarding forestry but they are not being adhered to. Forestry is being planted in around houses and closer to main roads than it should be,” Gallagher said.

“An example is the town of Drumkeeran where there is an area of 65 acres planted right in close to the town and none of those rules were followed. It was the objection from them local people and county councillors that brought that under control,” he said.

This was denied by Maurice Ryan, the timber marketing manager of Green Belt.


The issue of forestry has been controversial in Leitrim in recent years, with local people highly critical of the Government’s incentives for planting forestry, which they believe is leading to blanket forestry around the county. These incentives included tax-free premiums on planted land, which has lead many outside investors to buy land in the county to claim this payment. The result, according to Gallagher, is that farmers cannot compete with outside investors buying land in the area and, as well as this, find it difficult to obtain a loan from banks to do so.

Also joined on the show was Minister for Food, Forestry and Horticulture, Andrew Doyle who discussed the difficulty in farmers obtaining loans to compete with planters, saying: “There is a lack of understanding by banks of an investment plan for a farmer who wants to plant a portion of his land.” Doyle recently announced that talks have previously taken place between Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed and the banks.

A meeting took place on 12 July between Leitrim IFA and Minister Doyle in Drumshambo on the issue of forestation, which was attended by 40 local farmers. The issue of site notice for planting was promised to be looked at by Doyle before the next planting season begins in October.

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