McGrath: Thousands of jobs under threat in forestry sector

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

An independent Tipperary TD wants an exemption from licencing rules for forestry plantations of 50 hectares or under.

Mattie McGrath says the backlog in processing planting and felling licences is threatening 12,000 jobs in the sector.

The industry says farmers are waiting for around 6,000 licences to be issued, around three quarters of them to allow trees to be cut.

Deputy McGrath says he intends to bring a private member’s bill to waive the rules.

“I’m hoping to bring forward legislation – a Private Members Bill – that up to maybe 50 hectares should be exempt from all this regulations.

“We had none of this ten years ago and forestry contractors are parked up and idle now while the whole situation in the department now is just being clogged up with applications, delays, just pure diversionary tactics.

“And I believe actually that Minister Hackett – it’s a policy of hers – she doesn’t want to cut these trees.”