Stop the Coillte-Vulture Fund Deal
A new Save Our Forests Alliance plans a Dáil protest this Thursday, January 26th, to halt the Coillte/Gresham House deal and radically reform Coillte.
In a statement this evening, the newly established alliance has announced plans for a major campaign to overturn the plans of Coillte to partner with UK private investment fund, Gresham House fund and other equity funds to buy up to 250,000n acres of land and forestry across Ireland.
The new alliance was initiated by the groups and individuals involved in the organising of the large and successful protests against the Government – EU Troika plan to sell the harvesting rights of Coillte in 2013, such as Andrew St Ledger (The Woodland League) and Richard Boyd Barrett TD.
The alliance – which is made up of a wide variety of environmental, community, rural organisations, public representatives and concerned individuals – has organised a protest at the Dail this Thursday 26 Jan at 12.30pm to coincide with a special Dáil 200-minute debate on the Coillte/Gresham House deal taking place that day. The debate was requested by Deputy Boyd Barrett at the Dáil business committee and agreed by the Government at the order of business in the Dáil last week.
The Save Our Forests – Save Our Land group believes the Coillte/Gresham House deal amounts to public grants and funds being used to facilitate to a corporate take-over of huge swathes of land and forestry that will negatively impact small farmers and rural communities and further exacerbate the failed Sitka spruce industrial model of forestry that is damaging biodiversity, water and soil quality and is failing to promote sustainable afforestation.
The newly founded alliance has also launched a national petition making the following demands of the government:
1. Abandon the Coillte/Gresham House deal and other similar deals
2. Reform the Coillte Forestry Act and fundamentally alter the mandate of Coillte
3. Urgently develop a new sustainable forestry model that moves away from the monocultural Sitka spruce plantations and towards a model that supports farmers, communities and those working in forestry to make a just transition to a forestry model that increases biodiversity, assists climate mitigation, provides sustainable timber production, with the restoration of native and broadleaf forests and the common good.
The petition on www.saveourforests.ie has already been signed by over 500 people in less than 24 hours.