'I thought I could depend on them': Coillte admits to harvesting timber from farmers land but not paying them
State forestry company Coillte has admitted to harvesting timber from some farmer’s forests without paying.
The issue arose in relation to a number of the company’s farm partners whose crops matured at a faster rate than expected.
Farmers were due to get annual payments after 20 years from thinning, a process which sees weaker and poorer quality trees removed to improve the future value of the timber.
However, speaking to RTE Radio this morning Gerald Murphy, Managing Director of Coillte Forestry said some crops were highly productive and were thinned earlier
“We went in earlier it was well maintained and managed. But there was a disconnect between that and the payment system. We are working very hard to rectify the situation,” he said.
One landowner 73-year-old Noel Copley told RTE that over 4,000t of timber has been taken out of his forest, but he has received no payment.
Another landowner Gerry Queenan from Roscommon said the reason he went into partnership with Coillte was because he thought he could "depend on them and that everything could be done right".
He says there is no maintenance or correspondence from Coillte.