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Minister of State Wallace announces additional funding of €1.123 Million for the further promotion and development of Sustainable Forestry

Ms Mary Wallace TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture and Food, today announced funding of €1.123 million for 36 projects for the further promotion and development of sustainable forestry.

Speaking at the launch of Wood Energy Week 2006, at Gartan Outdoor Education Centre, Church Hill, Letterkenny, Co Donegal, Minister Wallace said that funding would be provided towards:

  • the better management of existing forests,
  • the conservation and enhancement of the native forest gene pool and of biodiversity in Irish forests,
  • alternative timber use (in particular the potential for reducing dependence on fossil fuels),
  • alternative silvicultural systems (including agro-forestry),
  • product development and marketing, and
  • the development of synergy between forestry and other areas of economic and social activity.

The Minister said that among the successful projects selected for funding was Phase 2 of the Donegal Forest Link project and the provision of cold storage facilities at the Killorgdon Nursery in Co. Donegal. The Donegal Forest Link Project is an innovative project which aims to maximise the economic, environmental and social benefits of forestry in Co. Donegal.

Wood Energy Week is an annual event organised by the National Council for Forest Research and Development (COFORD) and Sustainable Energy Ireland. Wood Energy Week is comprised of daily seminars and workshops, which provide information on using wood biomass as an energy source.

The Minister added that Wood Energy Week provides an opportunity for the sharing of knowledge and experiences that can contribute to the further development of wood as an energy source in Ireland and as a substitute and real alternative to imported fossil fuels.

The Minister highlighted the COFORD, Forest Energy 2006 programme which demonstrates how best to produce high quality wood fuels and will provide the first comprehensive database on wood fuel harvesting and production in Ireland. Minister Wallace congratulated Waterford Institute of Technology for the active role it has taken in the Forest Energy Programme and the wood energy area generally. The Minister also thanked the many private growers and forestry companies who are enthusiastically working with the agencies, in delivering this important initiative.

22 May 2006

Date Released: 22 May 2006