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Minister of State McEntee meets IFA Farm Forestry Chairman

Mr. Shane McEntee, T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine, with responsibility for Forestry, today met with an IFA delegation including Mr. Pat Hennessy, IFA Farm Forestry Chairman, to discuss forestry related issues, particularly funding.

Following the meeting, Minister of State McEntee commented, "I was pleased to have this opportunity to meet with the Chairman of the IFA Farm Forestry section to discuss forestry and to hear firsthand the views and concerns of forest owners".  In relation to funding for forestry, Minister of State McEntee added, "this issue is, like every other item in the Department's budget, subject to the outcome of the Comprehensive Review of Expenditure currently being undertaken by every Department.  I am totally aware of the economic importance of the sector and I am committed to achieving the highest possible level of funding for forestry, to ensure a sustainable and viable industry.  I have accordingly been involved in the Review process and have made my views known.  However, I can give no indication or commitment at this time about what the outcome may be."

Highlighting the significant State investment in forestry over the years, the Minister of State pointed out that, in this year alone, forestry premiums amounting to some €72.2 million had been paid to forest owners to date in 2011.  Minister of State McEntee also commented, "I was pleased to show the IFA the felling licence data that indicate that my Department has to date this year issued felling licences on a record private sector area of over 9,390 ha (over 23,000 acres), up over 30% on this time last year.  Despite the downturn in the domestic construction sector, the prices for timber remains buoyant due to the success of sawmills in turning quickly to export markets.  This is very positive news to the farmers who planted in the 1990's now seeing their timber crops being thinned and yielding a real return. This return for farmers and the supply of raw material for the timber processing sector is real evidence of the return from State investment in forestry over the years."

Date Released: 15 September 2011