Dáil debates

Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Ceisteanna ar Reachtaíocht a Gealladh - Questions on Promised Legislation


12:40 pm

Photo of Brian StanleyBrian Stanley (Laois-Offaly, Sinn Fein) | Oireachtas source

I want to raise with the Minister the crisis in the timber industry and the forestry industry. Farmers cannot get a felling licence. Over 5,000 licences are held up in the system. One case I have is three years waiting and the forestry is nearly within a stone's throw of a sawmill that is importing timber from Scotland. The reality is sawmills are importing from abroad where there are forests within a four-to-five mile radius of them that need to be cut. It has gone past the time to do so.

Confidence has collapsed in the sector. In Laois, for example, up to 450 ha were being planted per annum. It dropped last year to 26 ha planted in County Laois.

The backlog needs to be cleared. I appeal to the Minister to take up this issue with the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Deputy McConalogue, who was here and probably had to leave on other business. If the Minister could take this up with Deputy McConalogue, he needs to get a grip on it. We need a single consent system like other European countries for planting, thinning and harvesting and we need to get the backlog cleared. Can the Minister take this up with the Cabinet and the Minister, Deputy McConalogue? It is a real crisis.


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