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Minister Wallace presents the RDS/Forest Service Irish Forestry Awards

Ms. Mary Wallace T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture and Food with responsibility for forestry, presented the 19th annual RDS/Forest Service Irish Forestry Awards at Farmleigh House on Wednesday 18th October 2006.

The annual Irish Forestry Awards, sponsored by the Department of Agriculture and Food, are organised by the RDS who have a long association with Irish forestry and agriculture. Awards were made in three categories, Farm Forestry, Biodiverse Forestry/Woodlands and a special Judges award to a forestry company, whose work particularly impressed them in the course of their assessment of entries.

Presenting the awards, Minister of State Wallace commented that the awards are "recognised as the primary means of acknowledging good practice and good management of forestry plantations throughout Ireland".

She added "The award categories, Farm Forestry and Bio-diverse Forest/Woodland represent the core aspects of modern Irish Forestry. Our afforestation programme is today driven by farm forestry, with farmers now responsible for more than 90% of new planting."

The winner of the Farm Forestry award was James Bennett, Mountrath, Co. Laois with a Merit award going to Alex Tong of Offaly with John McCartan, Kells and Samuel Henderson, Donegal receiving Honourable Mention. The Biodiverse Forest/Woodlands category was won by Ken Gill, Co. Offaly with the Merit Award going to the Columban Missionaries in Navan. The Manch Estate Project in Cork received Honourable Mention in this category. Woodland Managers Ltd. from Galway was awarded the Judges prize for their outstanding work on a number of projects.

The Minister of State availed of the opportunity to thank the recently retired CEO of Coillte, Mr. Martin Lowery, for his contribution to the development of Coillte, since its establishment in 1989, and to the development of forestry generally.

18 October, 2006

Date Released: 18 October 2006