McGrath: Delay in issuing felling licences unacceptable

Mattie McGrath TD. Photo © Houses of the Oireachtas.

Ongoing delays in awarding felling licences in Tipperary and across the country is an ongoing cause for concern according to a local TD.

Deputy Mattie McGrath raised the issue in the Dáil this week pointing out that the current system appeared to be unfairly biased towards Coillte.

He says farmers and those who invested in forestry are missing out.

“Coillte seem to have no problem getting the licences but ordinary famers or ordinary businesspeople who invested in afforestation cannot get the licences.

“Can Minister McConalogue explain how Coillte are getting 135% of their applications over the line in this year alone not to mention the previous years and ordinary applicants are delayed there’s prevarication and there’s all kinds of obstacles put on their desks.”

Minister Jack Chambers replied on behalf of Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue saying there has been huge investment in resources.

“More ecologists, forestry inspectors and additional administrative staff assigned to licencing.

“A team of 35 ecologists has been recruited to deal with licencing specifically. Licencing in 2021 was 56% higher than 2020 with 4,050 licences issued compared to 2,592 in 2020.

In terms of approved output 2,877 felling licences were issued last year – 1,532 of which were for Coillte.”