I have not been in a position to accede to a request from the Irish Timber Council to meet with them personally in relation to the proposed sale of the harvesting rights of Coillte, mainly due to commitments related to the Irish Presidency. I have received a copy of the report by EPS Consulting for the Irish Timber Council, on “The impacts on the sawmill sector arising from the proposed sale of Coillte’s harvesting rights – February 2013 ” which details the Council’s concerns about the proposed sale. I appreciate the significant role Coillte plays in the provision of timber to sawmills and the importance of the sawmilling sector, having visited a number of wood processing facilities in recent years.
The Coillte State Assets Steering Group, on which my Department is represented, met with representatives of the Irish Timber Council in March to hear and discuss their concerns regarding the proposed sale of Coillte harvesting rights. I am regularly briefed by my officials about their ongoing work in relation to the analysis of the proposed sale and the issues identified in that context. NewERA, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and my Department as representatives of the Steering Group, are also considering the report for the Irish Timber Council, mentioned previously, as part of their analysis. The outcome of the overall analysis, which is ongoing, will be considered by the Government upon its conclusion.