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Minister Wallace oversees conversion of Department building in Wexford to wood energy

Ms Mary Wallace TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture and Food with special responsibility for forestry, during her visit to Wexford today oversaw the commencement of work on the installation of a wood fuelled boiler at the Department's regional office in Johnstown Castle Estate.

It is planned to complete the conversion of the heating system in the Department's building to a wood fired heating system by September of this year. Minister of State Wallace met with the contractor who will be carrying out the work under the supervision of the Office of Public Works. The Minister of State also acknowledged the involvement of COFORD in the development of the project. In her review of the project, the Minister of State said: "It is important that we, in Government, not only encourage and affirm the benefits of wood energy but that we actively promote them. Indeed we need to take a leading role in actively pursuing wood energy projects."

The Minister of State added: "The promotion of wood as a viable alternative energy source is a key objective of the Government. This project will serve as a template for further action by state and private institutions alike. I am particularly pleased that a number of businesses have already made the switch to wood energy."

Minister Wallace commented that it was incumbent on everybody to find new ways of reducing our dependence on expensive imported fossil fuels "not only from the point of view of reducing our economic dependency but also from an environmental point of view. As a 'carbon neutral' fuel, wood energy can contribute significantly to Ireland meeting its targets under the Kyoto Protocol". She noted that, as well as producing a carbon-neutral alternative to fossil fuel, the cultivation of wood energy crops represents a significant potential source of income for farmers and landowners. She concluded: "I am particularly happy that this well designed wood burning heating system will provide effective and environmentally friendly heat from locally planted forests."

14 July 2006

Date Released: 14 July 2006