Our forests are already a huge economic asset for the state, generating thousands of jobs and huge revenue. If we invested in them and managed them properly, as is done elsewhere in Europe, they have the potential to create literally tens of thousands of new jobs. Instead the government have been selling off the harvesting rights to private companies. Afforestation is also an enormously important source of carbon sequestration, but we need to diversify the forestry model from an overreliance on a narrow range of species.
People Before Profit aim to reverse this policy. We want,
- A major increase in afforrestation, including the greater use of native Irish species.
- An end to the selloff of harvesting rights to large private firms.
- Develop Coillte as a proper public company and remove a management that encourages its privatisation.
- Build up downstream industry based on spins off from an expanded forestry sector.
- Diversify the species to maximize environmental benefits.