Thursday, 4 November 2010
Department of Agriculture and Food
Question 230: To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he is committed to maintaining funding to the forestry sector in view of the potential for job creation in this indigenous industry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41016/10]
The Renewed Programme for Government commits, subject to resources, to increase the level of annual planting to 10,000 hectares per annum. In order to make progress towards that objective provision of €116.5m was made in 2010 to facilitate an increase in planting from 6,648 hectares in 2009 to 7,000 hectares this year. This increased planting is on course to be met.
The serious decline in the public finances means that all aspects of public expenditure are being subject to critical scrutiny, and forestry, which accounts for a substantial share of the agricultural budget, is no different in this regard. As the Deputy will be aware, ongoing discussions are taking place at both Departmental and Cabinet level on the formulation of the Budget for 2011. I can assure the Deputy that the Government remains committed to ensuring the continuation of the afforestation programme at a rate and in a format that maximises the use of scarce financial resources.