Thomas Pringle TD has welcomed the decision not to sell the harvesting rights of Coillte, describing it as �a victory for the people of Ireland�, but also warned that there is a long way to go before its future can be fully secured.
The Independent TD for Donegal South West said: “�It is very welcome indeed that the government finally listened to common sense and announced yesterday their decision not to sell the harvesting rights of Coillte.”
The reasons given for the decision - the financial implications and possible impact on the timber industry, concerns regarding public access to recreational land, environmental impact and possible job losses - had been raised by groups and members of the public “since day one” he added.
He also welcomed the government’s promise to reform the forestry agency and said that process should begin as soon as possible.
Deputy Pringle warned that a future sale is “not off the cards” because the government has said it will “reconsider all options in relation to Coillte in 18 months� time when the restructuring and merger with Bord na Mona is complete”.
He concluded: “It would be a massive loss to reform Coillte and, after that, to sell it off so I will certainly be keeping my eye on the ball in this regard.”