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Minister of State Wallace praises RDS Wood-Fired Heating System

Ms. Mary Wallace T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture and Food with special responsibility for forestry visited the Dublin Horse Show on Thursday 10th August and inspected the recently installed and innovative RDS wood fired boiler system.

This wood-fired system is providing heat for the Merrion Road building. A purpose-built timber building comprising a fuel store and a boiler house was built inside the Merrion Gate.

During the visit Minister Wallace reiterated her commitment to the development of wood energy as an alternative to fossil fuels recognised the forward looking policy in this area of the RDS. She said that this new installation in the RDS serves as an excellent example for what can be achieved in this area and referred to the many new wood and biofuel energy projects now being put in place throughout the country including in her own Department offices in Wexford.

Minister Wallace praised the Committee of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of the RDS for their initiative in promoting the use of wood for heating purposes, noting that the system was being closely monitored to ensure that the benefits were being delivered.

"There are very obvious environmental and financial benefits to wood-fired heating systems," the Minister said. "I believe that this project, along with the other public and private projects around the country demonstrate the attractiveness and suitability of wood as a form of renewable energy. During these times of rising oil prices and environmental concerns about fossil fuels it is imperative that we develop viable renewable alternatives beyond the demonstration stage and into widespread utilisation.

"Government was playing its part with the new renewable energy grants schemes recently launched by my colleague Noel Dempsey and I urge all those in construction and in refitting to think renewable and wood when making such investment decisions",
Minister Wallace said.

She continued "Forest thinnings were most suitable as an energy source and would provide alternative income for the farmer/planter long before the end of the forest rotation cycle. In the coming years a lot more forest thinnings would be coming available throughout Ireland arising from the big increase in forest planting in the last 20 years."

The Minister also used the opportunity of her visit to remind forest owners of the closing date for the RDS/Forest Service Irish Forestry awards. Applications for consideration must be received by the RDS by Friday 18th August. The award ceremony will take place in Farmleigh House in October.

She thanked the RDS for their cooperation in this important project, which is a continuation of a long-standing commitment of the RDS to Irish forestry over several centuries always with the aim of recognising and rewarding best forestry practice.

"It is particularly important that forest planting, maintenance and the downstream activities of forestry are conducted to the highest international standards and these awards are to show best examples of this in Ireland", the Minister said.

10 August, 2006

Date Released: 10 August 2006