The extension of Ireland’s forestry programme into 2021 will be irrelevant if licensing issues are not resolved, IFA president Tim Cullinan has said.
Cullinan said it was “a farce” that Minister of State for Forestry Pippa Hackett was announcing grants to encourage forestry, while at the same time the Department made it unworkable for people to plant.
Cullinan’s comments come after Minister Hackett announced that the EU had approved an extension of Ireland’s forestry programme into 2021.
At present, there are nearly 5,000 licences awaiting approval.
The IFA pointed out that farmers with forestry could not thin or harvest their timber and new entrants could not get a licence to plant.
“Those who went into forestry with the full encouragement of the Government are being blocked from harvesting their crop.
"Yet, the Government keeps issuing press releases telling us how important it is to increase the amount of forestry in the country,” he said.
“The recent changes around appeals, publishing output figures and setting up committees is all bluster.”
Cullinan said only 30% of the monthly target of felling licences issued in December.
“The Department's plan to address the felling licence backlog is not working. It is more accurately cataloguing their failure to resolve the issue,” he concluded.