Foresters have not ruled out protesting in Dublin again unless there is action on the forestry licensing crisis.
Paddy Bruton from Forestry Services Ireland told the Irish Farmers Journal that in his 24 years in forestry, this is the first time that foresters have had to protest.
“Nobody wants to be protesting, but if we do not get action we will go again,” he said.
Bruton said that, overall, the response from TDs at Government buildings on Wednesday at the Social Economic Environmental Forestry Association (SEEFA) 'Save Irish Forestry' protest was good and that they were supportive of the protest, but was angered that Minister of State Pippa Hackett didn’t attend.
“Senator Hackett is responsible for forestry, she should have been there. This protest should be of huge interest to the Green Party, I think this is a very poor reflection on them,” Bruton said.
In response to the forestry industry being unable to plant trees, Bruton said “the sheer hypocrisy of it is crazy”.
“This is a clear indication of what Pippa Hackett thinks about people who have lost jobs and of the plight of others affected.”
Bruton said that people are unable to build houses because they can’t get timber, people are losing jobs and there are huge concerns looming over ash dieback also.
“COP 26 is going on and we can’t plant trees, which is one of the easiest ways to mitigate CO2, it’s just crazy,” he said.
Minister Hackett said she could not attend the protest.
“[Minister Hackett] wrote us a business as usual letter to excuse her absence but business is not as usual."
Unfortunately, I was unable to meet with the @SEEFAssociation Forestry group outside Agriculture House today, but I'm happy to share my response to them, which you can read here...https://t.co/3HZj3C3OXw— Pippa Hackett (@pippa_hackett) November 3, 2021
“We have been very amicable, but we will stand for this no longer,” he said.
Bruton said that they were very conscious not to disturb Dublin life with the protest, but if political action is not taken and the forestry industry is not supported, they will have to be more robust in their next protest.