Dáil debates

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

Ceisteanna - Questions

Climate Change Negotiations

1:22 pm

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance) | Oireachtas source

The threatened sale of the Killegar forest in Enniskerry, which I highlighted and on which I am glad to say Coillte backed off, and the one raised by Deputy Cairns that the Taoiseach was talking about earlier on, indicate a fundamental problem with the mandate of Coillte, namely, that it is operating to commercial imperatives, rather than as a guardian of the forest estate and as the entity that is trying to expand that forest estate to deal with climate change and carbon sequestration and to enhance biodiversity. Something is fundamentally wrong with the way it is operating.

That mandate needs to be changed to prevent the sale of public forests and in order for it to act as a spearhead in dealing with the spectacular, ongoing, decades-long failure to meet our afforestation targets, to deal with our fundamentally unsustainable forest model based on monocultures and Sitka spruce and the market conditions around that and to deal with the need to assist farmers in embracing afforestation by supporting them rather than as is often the case where they find themselves at odds with Coillte which commercially dominates a market rather than doing the right thing by our forest estate.


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