Labour MEP for Munster Phil Prendergast is calling on people to think local when choosing their Christmas tree this year and to support Irish Christmas tree growers.
“Christmas is a time for celebrating but it can also be an opportunity to help our local communities by buying locally grown trees and produce,” said Ms Prendergast.
“The Christmas tree market is worth around €15 million to Irish forestry owners and growers. This year more than 700,000 trees will be harvested by around 100 growers in Ireland. While the largest Christmas tree producers are in Wicklow, Wexford and Carlow, there are also growers in Tipperary and Kerry who could do with the business.
“This is why I am encouraging people to buy real Irish Christmas trees which will support Irish jobs.”
Ms Prendergast said that there may be business development opportunities in Christmas trees as Ireland exports around half the trees produced here.
“The Irish climate and soil types are highly conducive to producing high-quality trees. Around half the Christmas trees we grow will be sold in the UK, France and Germany. Last year around four million Christmas trees were imported into the EU so there is clearly demand for trees and huge potential exists for Irish tree growers.
“The growing of Christmas trees is time consuming - it takes between seven and ten years for a tree to grow to two metres but clearly it is an area where Irish growers could be increasing their yields and growing profits.”