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Hayes Welcomes Launch of Cork Forest Owners Co-Operative Society

Tom Hayes, TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with responsibility for forestry, welcomed the formal launch of the Forest Owners Co-Operative Society which took place tonight in the Castle Hotel, Macroom, Co. Cork.

Speaking at the event, Minister Hayes commented that he is “particularly conscious of the role such [forest owner] groups play in the forest sector and the potential contribution that they can make to realising the full value of our forest resource” and added that “the Forest Owners Co-Operative Society is an excellent example of a forest owners group and the way in which such groups can develop through the work and commitment of enthusiastic, far-sighted and motivated members”.

Referring to the important contribution that forestry makes to the Irish economy and noting that the Irish forestry and forest products sector generates approximately €2.2 billion in annual output and continues to develop strong export markets,  the Minister acknowledged that “The first step in the success story are the landowners, many of whom are farmers, who decide to plant trees. The Government recognises the importance of the industry and supports it through its funding of the forestry programme.  The Government has allocated funding each year for the last number of years to facilitate the planting of up to 7,000 hectares each year” and added that “While new planting is essential, it is equally important to maintain and manage the current forestry crop to ensure the best returns for the landowner and that timber of the required quality and specification is available to the sawmilling and processing industry.

There are currently some 25 forest owners groups throughout the country at varying stages of development. The common goal of the groups, most of which were formed with assistance from Teagasc, is to bring together forest owners and provide a means to share knowledge, experiences and resources to maximise the benefits of forestry and to help members to manage their forests and to market their timber.

The Forest Owners Co-operative Group has evolved from the West Cork Forestry Group which was formed less than ten years ago.  Minister Hayes welcomed the formal launch of the Co-op noting that “the aims of the Co-op include maximising the benefits of forestry through education, training and sharing experience and facilitating the development of forestry in the county.” He congratulated all those involved in the formation of the Co-Op and noted that “While there is obvious benefit for the Co-Op members, there would seem to be mutual benefit to timber processors in the south west as well”.

 

View this Press Release as a PDF: DAFMPR 69/2014 (pdf 633Kb) 

Date Released: 12 May 2014