WATER CONSUMPTION - Department of Agriculture

Voice of Irish Concern for the Environment
9 Upper Mount St., Dublin 2.
Phone: 01-6425741
Web: www.voiceireland.org
Patrons: Darina Allen, Pauline Bewick, Don
Conroy, Christy Moore, Dick Warner,
Brendan Kennelly, John Feehan, Sr. Mary
John Gillespie
Chair of Coillte Review Group
Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
Floor 5 East
Agriculture House
Kildare St
Dublin 2
Dear Mr Gillespie,
Please find below a submission to the review taking place with regard to Coillte.
Coillte Review
Coillte was primarily set up to manage the publicly owned element of the national
forest estate. Coillte is a very large landowner, and is a state company whose assets
were funded by the Irish taxpayer. It should remain a state company, and state forests
should be retained in public ownership.
Since the formation of Coillte, pressures on our environment, including climatic
change and over-exploitation of natural resources, and changing values with regard to
our environment, have contributed to the need for a new approach as to how we value,
plan and manage the Irish forest estate.
The Helsinki Process, to which Ireland has signed up, defines sustainable forest
management as: Stewardship and use of lands in a way, and at a rate, that maintains
their biodiversity, productivity, regeneration capacity, vitality and their potential to
fulfil, now and in the future, relevant ecological, economic and social functions, at
local, national, and global levels, and that does not cause damage to other
In this changed context, the principal objects with which Coillte was formed should be
reviewed to reflect these changed circumstances. The 1988 Forestry Act must be
amended to broaden the principal objects of Coillte beyond the purely commercial.
Article 12(1)(a) sets out its principal objects in commercial terms, this should be
amended to reflect the necessity of meeting environmental and social objectives in
addition to commercial objectives. Suggested wording is:
Directors: Melinda Byrns O’Brien, Gay Brabazon, Gary Clare
Company limited by guarantee. Registered in Ireland no. 275127. Registered office as above. Charity No. CHY13196
12(1)(a) “to carry on the business of forestry and related activities on a commercial
basis and in accordance with “best practice” silvicultural practices, with full regard
to the consequences of its operations to the environment, amenity, and landscape”.
Flexible planning approach is required to meet future climatic challenges.
The extent to which the climate will change in coming decades is unknown. A
significant portion of the Coillte forest estate was planted on marginal lands such as
peatlands, which would be affected by either a drier or wetter climate. Flexibility will
be required in planning to provide for measures for either scenario.
Policies should provide ecological networks for species movement and
colonisation of new areas in the landscape.
Coillte is a significant landowner, and so is in a position to make a contribution with
regard to enhancing connectivity of habitats in the landscape. This should be done in
co-operation with any county biodiversity plans, and any national planning.