Forestry fears mount
Fears are mounting that forestry could become one of the biggest victims of cuts in the agriculture sector, since it received only a cursory mention in the National Recovery Plan 2011-2014.
John Phelan, from Woodland Managers Ltd, said the capital allocation of €299m for 2011 was €51m below the "already woefully inadequate" €350m in the July 2010 Framework, which included a provision of €89m for forestry next year.
"Virtually everyone agreed that the July figures meant a virtual collapse of planting to 2,000ha and a wipeout of key schemes," he said. "Given the pre-committed expenditure in agriculture, the cut means no new activity in 2011."
He warned that next year's commitments had increased by €6m due to afforestation approvals in recent weeks.
"So it could be that even existing commitments could not be met," he said.