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Forestry Sector

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 9 November 2010

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Questions (357, 358)

Noel Coonan

Question:

403 Deputy Noel J. Coonan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will assure farmers who have permanently committed their land to forestry that there will be no further cuts to the forest premium; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41466/10]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food)

As part of the 2011 Estimates process all aspects of public expenditure are being examined at present and forestry is no different in this regard. The Department is reviewing its available capital resources to ensure that priority needs and commitments are met. The Government remains committed to ensuring the continuation of the afforestation programme at a rate and in a format that maximises the use of scarce financial resources.

Noel Coonan

Question:

404 Deputy Noel J. Coonan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if his Department will honour its commitment to an afforestation programme of 10,000 ha as outlined in the renewed programme for Government if the €15 million cut outlined in the capital investment priorities 2010-2016 is implemented; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41467/10]

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The Renewed Programme for Government commits, subject to resources, to increase annual forestry planting to 10,000 hectares per annum. Some progress towards that objective has been made with funding provided this year for over 7,000 hectares of new planting. The Deputy will be aware that all aspects of public expenditure are being subject to in depth critical scrutiny and forestry is no different in this regard. I am very much aware of the concern expressed by farming and industry sources about the adequacy of the capital allocation of €89 million for the forestry programme in the recently published Capital Review — Infrastructure Investment Priorities 2010-2106. While this amount is indicative only, it will, nevertheless, inform the Estimates process. As part of that process, the Department is reviewing its available capital resources to ensure that priority needs and commitments are met. The Government remains committed to ensuring the continuation of the afforestation programme at a rate and in a format that maximises the use of scarce financial resources.

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