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Minister Smith officially opens Rossmore Forest Park

Mr. Brendan Smith TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture and Food, today officially opened Rossmore Forest Park, Co. Monaghan. Minister Smith congratulated both Monaghan Co. Council and Coillte who worked together under the EU Peace and Reconciliation Fund to develop the forest.

Minister Smith commented: "As we are currently celebrating National Tree Week, it is a fitting time to officially open this wonderful forest park. National Tree Week gives us the opportunity to explore the various aspects of forestry and its message continues to grow in importance every year."

He added that this is "a week when we can highlight the message of the importance of trees for the planet, for nature, for energy, for recreation as well as their beauty and elegance".

Minister Smith planted a tree to mark the occasion and also to celebrate National Tree Week.

Commenting on the theme of this year's National Tree Week 'Trees for Energy', he commented that home grown wood will have an increasing role in providing an environmentally friendly source of energy.

Referring to the recreational value of forestry, Minister Smith went on to say that the sense of well-being that can be achieved through walks in forests is widely recognised and that the ever-increasing number of visitors to our forest parks nationwide is very welcome. He pointed to latest estimates which indicate that €268 million is generated annually by domestic forest visitors in the rural community and that about 260,000 overseas tourists engaged in hiking and walking in Ireland in 2004.

He commented that Rossmore Forest Park has a lot to offer visitors and concluded by wishing continued success to the historic park.

9 March 2007

Date Released: 09 March 2007