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Smith highlights significance of Forestry Processing Sector

Speaking during a visit to Glennon Brothers Sawmills in Fermoy, Co. Cork today, the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD, highlighted the contribution of the forest processing sector, both in terms of exports and employment.

During the tour of the sawmill, Minister Smith saw, at first-hand, the state-of-the-art scanning systems and high-tech sawing equipment, which ensures that the maximum amount of boards are recovered from every log thus eliminating unnecessary waste. The Minister also congratulated Glennon Brothers on securing, earlier this year, a contract worth €1.5 million to deliver the first ever shipment of home-grown timber to France.

At present, the bulk of timber harvested each year goes to the sawmill sector where the timber is used to produce sawn timber products for use in the construction, fencing and packaging sectors.  Minister Smith acknowledged the importance of the sawmill sector, adding that "The Irish sawmilling industry is modern, efficient and customer focused and, through innovation and marketing, this sector is securing increased export market share, particularly in the UK market."  He also noted that it was estimated that the sawmill sector in the Republic of Ireland employed in excess of 2,500 people in 2009.

Concluding his visit, Minister Smith commented that an adequate supply of timber is a crucial factor for the sawmills, especially in view of the demand created by the emerging biomass sector, and added that the extraction of the timber from the existing forest estate and new planting into the future are necessary to meet these demands both in the short and long term.  He highlighted the Government's commitment in the renewed Programme for Government to forestry and the allocation of almost €120 million to Forestry programmes in the 2010 Budget.

Date Released: 28 May 2010