asked the Minister for Fisheries and Forestry if his attention has been drawn to allegations made in a publication (details supplied) that many of the sub-contractors to the forests and wildlife service of his Department are poorly equipped, disorganised, are careless of normal safety standards and evade tax; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Written Answers. - Forests and Wildlife Service.
Every effort is made to ensure that the harvesting of timber — whether carried out directly by the Department or its agents, or by contractors employed by timber merchants — is undertaken efficiently and with due regard to safety.
To the extent that there may be some deficiencies in the methods used by a minority of private harvesting operators in State forests I would hope that the training centre being established by my Department at Mountrath and which can be availed of by the private sector will provide an opportunity to improve standards.
In so far as allegations regarding tax evasion are concerned, my Department are co-operating fully with the other Departments more directly involved in this particular aspect to ensure that, so far as possible, such evasion does not take place.