Despite snow and ice delaying their arrival, protesters from the Save Leitrim group gathered outside Dáil Eireann on Wednesday to voice their opposition to what they call the “mass forestation of Leitrim”.

Amid the ongoing concerns of Leitrim residents, the Government has announced that an independent review of afforestation in Leitrim is to be undertaken.

However, speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal Gerry Loftus, Mayo INHFA chair, said that, while he welcomed the review, it wasn’t needed.

Over 100 protestors from the west of Ireland gathered outside the Dáil despite poor travel conditions due to snow.

“You don’t need a review of Leitrim. You don’t need to spend hundreds of thousands on a review when you can go down and drive around where you can plainly see what has happened.”

Loftus said forests are devastating farmland and wiping out communities, and that the Government had failed to address any of the problems, with Irish land now in the hands of foreign investors.

The Save Leitrim group is calling for a halt to the mass planting of conifers such as sitka spruce in favour of native broadleaf forests, which offer more biodiversity.

In addition to protecting communities, Loftus said broadleaf trees would go a long way to sequestering Ireland’s carbon emissions.

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