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Minister Wallace presents 2007 RDS/Forest Service Irish Forestry Awards

Ms. Mary Wallace T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, with responsibility for Forestry, today presented the 20th annual RDS/Forest Service Irish Forestry Awards at Castletown House, Celbridge, Co. Kildare.

The annual Irish Forestry Awards, sponsored by the Forest Service of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, are organised by the RDS which has a long association with Irish forestry and agriculture. There were two Award Categories, Farm Forestry and Bio-diverse Forestry/Woodlands with a special Judges award to a forestry company, whose work particularly impressed them in the course of their assessment of entries. There was also a Special Award in recognition of an outstanding contribution to forestry.

Presenting the Awards, Minister of State Wallace commented that the RDS/Forest Service Irish Forestry Awards "recognise and reward farmers who are employing the basic principles of sustainable forest management on their properties as well as sound commercial management, environmental protection, bio-diversity and social amenity". She then added "The award categories, Farm Forestry and Bio-diverse Forest/Woodland represent the core aspects of modern Irish Forestry. Our affforestation programme is today driven by farm forestry, with farmers now responsible for more than 90% of new planting."

The winner of the Farm Forestry award was John McCartan, Baltrasna, Kells, Co. Meath with a Merit Award going to Martin Murphy, Cahermurphy, Kilmihill, Co. Clare. The Bio-diverse Forest/Woodlands category was won by The Missionary Society of St. Columbian, Dalgan Park, Navan, Co. Meath with the Merit Award going to Joe Barry, Kilcock, Co. Kildare. Greenbelt Ltd., Virginia, Co. Cavan was awarded the Judges prize for their outstanding work. A Special Award in recognition of an outstanding contribution to Irish Forestry was made to John McCarthy of None So Hardy nurseries.

The Minister thanked all those who took the time and effort to enter the competition, congratulated all the Award winners on their achievement and thanked the judges and the RDS for organising the event.

18 October, 2007

Date Released: 18 October 2007