They fear that Ireland’s forests are in danger of being sold off to reduce government debt and is urging the Irish government to issue a statement that it will not privatise Irelands forest assets.

A Pillar spokesperson, Michael Ewing said: “A sale of Irish Forests would not be in the best interests of the Irish public or their environment

“We have already seen oil, gas, and mineral rights sold off, impoverishing the nation on many levels.”

Coillte (the Irish Forestry Board) manages over one million acres of forestry land and was one of a number of agencies selected for possible privatisation by the McCarthy Report.

In January of this year the International Forestry fund, chaired by Bertie Ahern TD expressed an interest in buying Coillte.

The Pillar is opposed to the sale of state forests and has raised concerns about the transparency of any possible discussions.

The overall aim of the Environmental Pillar is to find a new direction for forest policy in Ireland that balances environmental, social and economical needs.

They believe that getting this balance correct will provide more employment opportunities at community level as well as addressing problems such as flooding, soil erosion, and biodiversity loss.

Alison Brown

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