Carlow-Killkenny TD Jennifer Murnane O'Connor
Carlow-Killkenny TD Jennifer Murnane O'Connor says an adequate increase in resources for the Forestry Appeals Committee is needed to ensure efficient turnaround times for assessments and decisions on appeals, particularly for felling.
Earlier this week, the Cabinet approved the Forestry (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2020, which aims to reform the way appeals lodged against forestry licences that are processed.
"In my constituency of Carlow-Kilkenny, several people have come to me with concerns for everyone in the forestry industry in the region. Creators, builders, landscapers and craftspeople rely heavily on supply from Irish sawmills," says Deputy Murnane O'Connor.
"However, due to problems with the felling licences caused by serial objectors, the country's sawmills are finding it incredibly tough and their lack of supply has resulted in shorter working weeks. These are jobs which on the line.
"Commercial forestry is a renewable resource, a green sector for jobs and we need to future proof our plans for this area. The forestry sector has a turnover of €2.4 billion, provides a €1 billion worth of exports and employs 12,000 people. These jobs and the livelihoods of families will be under threat in rural Ireland if we do nothing.
"We have to ensure a robust objection system, root out vigorously objections where they may occur and work with industry to solve issues where they arise," the Fianna Fáil TD adds.