Coillte Teoranta was established as a private commercial company under the Forestry Act 1988 and day-to-day operational matters, such as the management of the State’s forestry estate, are the responsibility of the company.
I am aware that Coillte, as part of its management of some 442,000 hectares of the national forest estate, plays a significant role in the provision of forest recreational opportunities for the general public, thereby continuing a long tradition of open access to state owned forests. This role includes the management of ten Forest Parks and over 150 recreation sites throughout Ireland. In this context, I have previously noted the importance of Donadea Forest Park as a recreational amenity in North Kildare. I am conscious that such recreational facilities are also very valuable resources as tourism attractions in the various regions.
I understand that, as the company’s statement of strategy ran until the end of 2012, the company and Board will be preparing a new draft statement of strategy, which, under the Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies, will then be submitted to me. My Department and I will then have an opportunity to engage with the company in relation to their proposals for the future management of the State’s forestry estate.