The site in question is in an area which the Department of Environmental, Heritage and Local Government has identified as one of a number of areas around the country which are important for the survival of the Hen Harrier, which is a protected species. The European Commission has expressed the gravest concern at any further planting within these areas until it is possible to fully assess the impact of forestry on the species.
In order to do that, it is necessary to work out what type of management regime needs to be put in place to accommodate both forestry and the hen harrier in the areas being proposed as Special Protection Areas.
The Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government has established a working group, on which the forestry and farming interests are represented, as well as my Department, to help with the development of such a management regime. Good progress is being made and I hope that matters can be brought to an early resolution.