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Seanad: An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business (29 Mar 2021)

Pippa Hackett: It has been a busy time for Government. Despite the ongoing issues in relation to Covid, the business of Government continues. Last week we saw the landmark Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Bill 2021 passed by Cabinet, and a new pollinator plan was launched before the weekend. Today, the Government will launch its new rural development policy, Our Rural Future. That...

Seanad: International Women's Day: Statements (8 Mar 2021)

Pippa Hackett: It is great to be here on International Women's Day. The theme of this year's International Women's Day is choosing to challenge. That is something that can resonate with all of us, men or women. We must challenge the status quo, policy, gender balance, inequality, sexism and misogyny.Yet, as a woman, I do not want to focus on those gendered issues, and I do not want to be defined by my...

Seanad: Nithe i dtosach suíonna - Commencement Matters: Environment Fund (1 Mar 2021)

Pippa Hackett: I thank Senator Carrigy for raising this issue. I apologise that my colleague, the Minister, Deputy Ryan, cannot be here to take the Commencement matter. Senator Carrigy highlighted many of the points in his address. Ireland's peatlands are part of Europe's oldest surviving near natural ecosystems. Due to their conservation value, more than 26,000 ha of raised bogs are protected under the...

Seanad: Nithe i dtosach suíonna - Commencement Matters: Environment Fund (1 Mar 2021)

Pippa Hackett: I thank the Senator. He is right to raise this issue, whether it relates to Longford, Offaly, Kildare or any area with such a wealth of potential in their peatlands. We have to look at them all. I completely agree with the idea of encouraging schools and communities to visit such sites, not only for their cultural and historical significance but for their future biodiversity and ecosystem...

Seanad: Nithe i dtosach suíonna - Commencement Matters: Forestry Sector (26 Feb 2021)

Pippa Hackett: I thank Senator Murphy for the welcome and for raising this matter. Ash dieback has had a devastating effect on ash plantations throughout the country and I am well aware of its impact on landowners and farmers. As the Senator highlighted, the effects on native trees across the countryside, whether they are in hedges or standing alone, will be apparent very soon. When the disease first...

Seanad: Nithe i dtosach suíonna - Commencement Matters: Forestry Sector (26 Feb 2021)

Pippa Hackett: I thank the Senator. The scheme is quite new. It has only been running for six or eight months so I suggest that we give it time and there is no reason we cannot look at things further down the line. The other day I saw the television programme on bamboo now being used to make hurleys and the Senator raised important points about the importation of wood, trees or, indeed, other plants into...

Seanad: Ábhair Ghnó an tSeanaid – Matters on the Business of the Seanad (22 Feb 2021)

Pippa Hackett: It is great to be back in the Seanad Chamber for a little while. As The Hollies sang in 1974, "All I need is the air that I breathe". Last week the Government announced a consultation on solid fuel regulations because it wants to reduce deaths from air pollution and ensure a better quality of life for those with breathing difficulties.Last week, the Government announced a consultation on...

Seanad: An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business (1 Feb 2021)

Pippa Hackett: I wish everyone here a happy St. Brigid's Day. Brigid was originally a pagan goddess associated with spring and new beginnings. It is great to see our Government colleagues in the Fine Gael Party backing the long-time call from the Green Party to make this day a public holiday. Unfortunately, it has not been very springlike of late. Over the weekend, we saw pictures of the DART line at...

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine: Challenges for the Forestry Sector: Discussion (Resumed) (17 Nov 2020)

Pippa Hackett: I thank the committee for its invitation. This is my first appearance before it as Minister of State with responsibility for forestry and I welcome the opportunity to engage with the committee and answer whatever questions its members may have. It is clear that they have a keen interest in the forestry sector, which is not surprising. I share their interest, which is reflected in the...

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine: Challenges for the Forestry Sector: Discussion (Resumed) (17 Nov 2020)

Pippa Hackett: Would the Chair like me to address the points he raised as well as those of Deputy Kehoe?

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine: Challenges for the Forestry Sector: Discussion (Resumed) (17 Nov 2020)

Pippa Hackett: Concerning ash dieback, the scheme has been somewhat refreshed. We have spent more than €7 million up to now supporting farmers with ash dieback in their plantations. The new scheme has been in effect since June. We have received more than 200 applications to date, so it is not as if no one is applying for the scheme. People are applying. I refer to the support measures to remove...

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine: Challenges for the Forestry Sector: Discussion (Resumed) (17 Nov 2020)

Pippa Hackett: I will look at that issue. Just off the top of my head-----

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine: Challenges for the Forestry Sector: Discussion (Resumed) (17 Nov 2020)

Pippa Hackett: -----my impression regarding planting on marginal land is that there are concerns in respect of planting on peat. There is a need to drain and plant. On the whole, it may not deliver a brilliant crop of trees while it also emits carbon. That is problematic. I will get the details for the Deputy.

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine: Challenges for the Forestry Sector: Discussion (Resumed) (17 Nov 2020)

Pippa Hackett: Deputy Kehoe is referring to where the policy came from. I can do that.

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine: Challenges for the Forestry Sector: Discussion (Resumed) (17 Nov 2020)

Pippa Hackett: Is the Deputy asking how we will meet our targets?

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine: Challenges for the Forestry Sector: Discussion (Resumed) (17 Nov 2020)

Pippa Hackett: I can only speak for the four months I have been in office. Any time I have queried something or asked for something to be done, information has been forthcoming. The crisis has absolutely deepened in the last several months-----

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine: Challenges for the Forestry Sector: Discussion (Resumed) (17 Nov 2020)

Pippa Hackett: Changes were made in light of decisions of the European Court of Justice that changed the way we carried out assessments.

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine: Challenges for the Forestry Sector: Discussion (Resumed) (17 Nov 2020)

Pippa Hackett: Whatever the reason was, we made the changes to suit what we have to do now. The system we have in place is robust, but there is a huge backlog to get through. As I said, we are working really hard to put the resources in place to get through that backlog. Whatever is required, we will do our utmost to deliver on that. At this point-----

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine: Challenges for the Forestry Sector: Discussion (Resumed) (17 Nov 2020)

Pippa Hackett: I thank the Deputy. Several people have suggested such an amnesty, with a licence granted automatically if an application has not been processed in a certain period. That would be illegal and deeply unjust to the process. Unfortunately it cannot be done. The Deputy referred to exemptions for thinning and forest roads. This would depend on where the forest road goes. That is why there is...

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine: Challenges for the Forestry Sector: Discussion (Resumed) (17 Nov 2020)

Pippa Hackett: I thank the Deputy for his nice comments. I am not quite a forester yet. I am still a farmer with some trees but one never knows. The commitments in the programme for Government, and I invite the committee to review them, are ambitious for forestry. We have a forestry model that really is not working for everyone in this country. Currently, it is not working for anyone but it is...

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