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Timber continues to play vital part in Tipperary’s economy

The contribution of timber processing to the economy in South Tipperary including Dundrum Sawmills which gives employment and Sheehan’s in Burncourt was highlighted in the Dáil by South Tipperary Independent Deputy Mattie McGrath.

The contribution of timber processing to the economy in South Tipperary including Dundrum Sawmills which gives employment and Sheehan’s in Burncourt was highlighted in the Dáil by South Tipperary Independent Deputy Mattie McGrath.

Speaking during a debate on the Forestry Bill, he said the Minister for Forestry, Tom Hayes faced the challenge of balancing the productive farm land and growing timber for construction, fuel, green energy and to reduce our carbon footprint.

“It is a very fine balance and difficult to achieve,” he said. “In recent years forestry has encompassed much more than trees. One can see what has been done in the majestic Aherlow House nestling in a mature wood and the Minister of State knows better than I do the work done by Aherlow Fáilte with walks, cycle paths, recreation, tours and the co-operation it gets. These are mainly Coillte forests, although some are private. The same is true of Lake Muskry and the other lakes in the Galtees which receive help from their partners, mainly in Coillte. They have recreational and amenity value and there is potential there for more development and exploitation.”

Deputy McGrath said Minister Hayes will be open to that suggestion and to the work of voluntary groups such as Aherlow Fáilte and Knockmealdown Active in South Tipperary, and Tipperary Tourism.

“If one wants a quiet place to reflect before or after the Budget, there is no better place to go than into the woods where one meets no one other than the odd deer or other wildlife, not that one would not see the wood for the trees,” he said. “It is a nice place to reflect in one’s own space and time, especially when the woods are well maintained.”

Pointing to the Medite plant in Clonmel, he said he had not realised the finesse and sheer size and quality of its product which now features in hotel receptions, theatres and other areas.

“When Medite was first set up, it produced 8ft x 4ft sheets,” he told the House. “Now it produces the finest veneer and has a magnificent processing plant employing 150 or 160 people and does a tremendous job. It needs a continuous supply and our support, which it will have. It is amazing what can be done with ply board, which was once used only for attics and partitions but now has many and varied uses. Transition year students and others have done projects to show the kind of creative work and quality product that comes from Medite and that can be used and adapted to many situations such as front-of-house furniture that we see in the queerest of places. One would never imagine it was MDF because it is so well finished.”

 

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