Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Forestry Employment.

28.

asked the Minister for Lands the number of workers employed in the forestry planting section of his Department from the period 1965 to the latest date for which figures are available.

No specific group of forest workers is assigned to planting operations so it is not possible to say how many men might be engaged on this type of work at any one time.

Could the Minister give any approximate figure or is it that the figure has declined instead of increasing in recent years? Is that the reason why the Minister will not give the figure?

No. The Deputy must be aware that, while the acreage being planted has increased, the number of workers has decreased, mainly because of mechanisation. As I have said, one cannot say exactly how many men are engaged at any one time in particular planting operations because no specific group is assigned solely to planting.

Am I to take it from that reply that we may expect a falling off in the foreseeable future in the number employed because of mechanisation or for some other reason?

No. The figure should be about stabilised now at its present level.