McGrath critical of government record on forestry plantation

Golden Vale - view from the Galtees towards the Knockmealdowns Photo © Tipp FM

A Tipperary TD is highlighting the governments failure to meet its targets for forestry plantation.

Despite a promised 8,000 hectares Deputy Mattie McGrath says a mere 1,651 hectares were planted last year – a shortfall of nearly 80%.

The Newcastle TD says the figures are a stark testament to the inability of Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue and Minister of State Pippa Hackett to uphold their commitments.

Mattie McGrath says this shortfall would not be accepted anywhere else.

“Now if that happened to any farmer, if that happened to any business person, if that happened to any employee that they came up short on their targets there’d be severe consequences. This is a public body – or a quasi-public body run by a minister who has ran it into the ground. Minister McConalogue is in charge – supposed to be – but Minister Hackett has failed spectacularly. I think she actually has delivered on her own plans to stop farmers growing anything.”

Mattie McGrath says this together with the lack of felling licences for those who have trees ready to harvest is simply not acceptable.

“Any farmer that plants a field of potatoes, wheat, barley, oats whatever has the expectation that he can harvest them weather permitting. When you have a crop like this planted in a contract for trees that you have an expectation that you will be able thin that after ten years and that you’ll be able to harvest it without hinderance and impediments in a 30 year cycle.

“They’ll never again plant a tree – not even a monkey puzzle because the monkeys are in charge of the department obviously and this is downright blackguarding.”