The forestry industry will grind to a halt unless a backlog in appeals is tackled and dealt with by the Forestry Appeals Committees (FAC) warned Longford Fine Gael Senator Micheál Carrigy.
Calling on the Minister for Agriculture to immediately get his Department to deal with the backlog in forestry appeals, Senator Carrigy stated in the Seanad, “The Forestry (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act was recently before the House. There is a crisis caused by the lack of delivery by the forestry division in the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
"We have reached a position where the entire industry is grinding to a halt. The Act was signed in October but the crisis has continued to deepen.
"Thousands of jobs, all in rural Ireland, are under threat. There are 495 jobs at risk Longford, including 250 jobs at Glennon Brothers, one of the largest timber manufacturing companies in the country.
"It is clear that the Department has consistently not delivered on its stated goals to provide the necessary number of licences needed and has missed all its targets. The entire system is operating at one third of the required rate.
"The forestry appeals committee (FAC) is still dealing with fewer than 20 appeals per week, rather than the 40-plus required to clear the backlog within the next three months.
"I ask that the Leader speaks to the Minister for Agriculture to get the Department to deal with this or the industry will grind to a halt. We brought in the legislation and pushed it through the Houses to ensure it was in place but it is not being delivered on the ground.
"There are 12,000 jobs in the entire industry and nearly 500 in Longford. I now ask that this be prioritised as a matter of urgency”