Growth of forestry is impacting on people’s mental heath - former Leitrim rose
The fractious and heated debate on forestry in Leitrim was to the fore at a public meeting in Carrick-on-Shannon on Friday night.
Farmers are being led to make money for big corporations not to generate an income for themselves by planting forestry, according to Gerry Loftus Mayo Chairman of the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association (INHFA).
Over 300 attended the meeting and those in attendance heard from members of the INHFA, MEPs Mairead McGuinness and Marian Harkin as well as TDs Michael Fitzmaurice and Martin Kenny.
The INHFA said they organised the meeting to “inform and educate” the people of Leitrim who have seen dramatic increases in the volume of new plantings especially from non-farmers.
"Farmers are being led by a ring through the nose… you are being led to make money for others,” Loftus said weith regards to the national policy of wanting to grow forest cover.
He added farmers, particularly those in Leitrim, “cannot compete” with forestry companies buying land.
He cited an initiative launched in 2017 where the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) are working with Finland forestry company Dasos to secure 15,000ha of forestry.
“That’s not right. They can’t do that. Farmers are being outbid by forestry companies (for land), how can we compete?”