The potential sale by the Government of the Coillte crop is wrong and needs to be vehemently opposed according to Martin Lonergan of Goatenbridge/Ballybacon Development Association.
The Minister for Agriculture stated in the Dáil recently that a decision on the proposed sale is imminent, according to Mr Lonergan. “The long-term viability of Coillte and the timber industry would be under threat with this proposed sale and a message should be sent out opposing the sale of this vital national asset,” Mr Lonergan said.
“The sale of the Coillte crop would be against the national interest and is morally and strategically wrong. The Coillte estate which includes forest parks, mountains and recreational sites in and around the Cahir area, are one of the area’s most significant recreational and environmental resources and are enjoyed on a daily basis by game hunters, orienteers, hill walkers, runners, local people, families and thousands of tourists every year,” Mr Lonergan added.
“A compiled recreational strategy for the Knockmealdown Mountain range in particular, which boasts hundreds of acres of Coillte crop, sprung the seeds for the very successful Knockmealdown Active Initiative. That clearly highlights the benefits of the mountain range to communities such as Newcastle, Ardfinnan, Goatenbridge, Clogheen, Ballyporeen and many more both economically and culturally. It also clearly highlights the great cooperation between Coillte and local communities’ which mean initiative’s such as this will continue to benefit these localities into the future. Therefore, as this is publicly owned land; it should be managed and maintained for the benefit of current and future generations and remain in public ownership,” concluded Mr Lonergan.