Friday 9 December 2016

Blanket forests 'threaten' scenic Leitrim sites

Claire Mc Cormack

Published 20/07/2016 | 02:30

Minister of State for Forestry, Andrew Doyle.
Minister of State for Forestry, Andrew Doyle.

HILL walking, cycling , fishing and agri-tourism are under threat by the surge of afforestation in Co Leitrim, the IFA has warned.

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Andrew Doyle, Minister of State for Food, Forestry and Horticulture, met with a delegation from the IFA in Drumshanbo to discuss concerns over large scale planting in the area.

The main issues include limited notice that local land is being planted, farmers not being able to financially compete against forestry companies when land goes up for sale and the lasting impact of blanket forestry on local business and communities.

In a statement to the Farming Independent, Minister Doyle indicated that a requirement for site notices to be erected on sites intended for afforestation will be introduced "as soon as new procedures are in place".

However, Pat Gilhooley, IFA vice chairman of the national rural development committee, says other pressing frustrations remain. "The Minister has his own agenda but our beautiful mountainous scenery, with a lot of lakes, is still being lost to trees. Hill walking and angling is being negatively affected. Agri-tourism is very important to us, people won't come here to look at trees," he said.

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