Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Questions (204)

Joan Collins

Question:

204. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if there are any legal considerations, obstacles or obligations, particularly in relation to environmental impact assessments in his consideration of the possible sale of the harvesting rights of Coillte; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21891/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Further to the Government decision that a concession for the harvesting rights to Coillte’s forests be considered for sale, NewERA, Coillte, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and my Department have worked to examine the financial and other implications of developing the potential of Coillte’s forest assets. This process includes the consideration of the legal position with regard any potential sale of harvesting rights.

The process is at an advanced stage and, aside from the valuation of the forestry assets, a number of issues are being considered in relation to the possible harvesting rights concession. These include, inter alia, the possible impact on the timber industry, public access to recreational land, environmental and social impacts and consequential implications for the company. This whole process is a very complex one and it is not possible at this stage to pre-empt the outcome of the analysis. As I have said previously, the Government will proceed with caution in relation to this matter and no final decision has been taken, as yet. The outcome of the overall analysis will be considered by the Government upon its completion.