Wednesday, 24 November 2021
Ceisteanna ar Reachtaíocht a Gealladh - Questions on Promised Legislation
Micheál Martin (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
Coillte, as the Deputy will be aware, is independent in terms of its operational duties. They have an obligation to report to the Minister in terms of any projects or whatever like that.
Apparently, this is in relation to an approach in terms of creating a woodland accommodation and recreational offering. I am assured that existing walking trails in Ballymartle Forest, which are very popular with locals, would remain open to the public and would be completely unaffected were this sale to proceed.
My own view is, generally speaking, given climate change and so on, that we need to do everything possible we can to preserve the existing woodlands that we have. I am not aware of the full background to this specific case in terms of the engagement Coillte is having with other interested parties but my view is that we need to protection, as the bottom line, all our native woodlands in terms of contributing to our climate change agenda.