Felling hold ups raised

A local TD has expressed concern that forest owners awaiting a felling licence are facing delays of between two and three years.

Commenting Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan, Monaghan and North Meath, Niamh Smyth said, “I am calling on the Minister for Agriculture to resolve the issues which have led to this backlog as an immediate priority. I have raised this matter with the Minister in the Dáil again this week. I have been contacted by retailers who are concerns about timber stocks.

“I understand that there are increasing volumes of finished timber being imported into the country to fill a gap in the market. Minister Charlie McConalogue has advised me that he has significantly resourced the FAC and four appeals committees are now set up and hearing appeals in order to progress matters more efficiently. I have been advised that the FAC is now hearing an average of 60 licences per month representing an increase of 150%.

“It is vital that the licenses required be issued as a matter of urgency to ensure this important sector continues to contribute to our rural economy, including our important hardware sector which services both the local and export market,” she concluded.