Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Thursday, 24 October 2019
Public Accounts Committee
2018 Annual Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General and Appropriation Accounts
Vote 30 - Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Chapter 10 - Forestry Grants
Just to pick up from where Deputy Cullinane left off, I published legislation that was debated in the Dáil in February 2013. That legislation was defeated. It was the same week that the Minister introduced the climate legislation; mine just came in a week before. I remember it very well because my Bill contained targets and my criticism of the Minister was that he did not. He told me that the national ambition would be stated in sectoral plans. If we do not have a year-on-year target, we will fail to meet our overall targets. We have been spectacularly unambitious in meeting our targets across the board. It has been a real source of frustration for those of us with an interest in this area who have tried to do something about it.
On the chapter on the forestry sector, we are very poor compared to other jurisdictions yet our climate is the most advantageous for this sector. We have an ideal climate for it. That is not going to be a reason. It does appear that the policy is very much focused on the private. We do have public land, some of which is not usable for buildings, houses or whatever. There is a degree of public responsibility being taken for this but the public policy is focused almost exclusively on the private side. Will the review look at that? How can people make an input?