Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice has warned that a motion of no confidence in the Minister for Agriculture, Charlie McConalogue, is inevitable if positive changes do not become apparent in the forestry sector.
Speaking on the matter, Deputy Fitzmaurice said: “The forestry sector continues to be hampered by a lack of real progress around delays in dealing with licence applications for afforestation, forest roads and felling.
“This is despite all of the measures supposedly taken by the department – including hiring more ecologists – to date to alleviate these problems, which have come to the fore in recent months.
“If you look at our forestry planting targets and where we are at the moment, there is no chance we will even come close to the 8,000ha target. We are on a downward spiral and if swift action isn’t taken, the sector will crumble – as it is already on its knees.
“The Minister and his officials need to come out and clarify how the sector has been let slip into such a state.
“We have all heard how more and more ecologists have been hired and progress is slowly being made. But we need to see real results; the future of the sector and people’s livelihoods are at risk.
“If stakeholders do not see significant positive changes in the short-term, then a motion of no confidence in the minister and the officials over the sector will be inevitable.
“Patience amongst stakeholders has run out; they need to start seeing results,” he concluded.