The Irish Government is moving closer to a huge sell-off of the public forests, currently managed by Coillte (The Irish Forestry Board), to private investors. An area greater than 1 million acres, equivalent to two medium sized counties, will be lost forever. This will include some of our most valuable native woodlands, wild places and some of the last refuges of our native flora and fauna.
Interest has been expressed by Swiss finance company Helvetia Wealth - who own the International Forestry Fund (IFF) - chaired by Bertie Ahern, (ex-prime minister of Ireland) as well as The China Investment Corporation.
Please sign this petition now to tell the Irish Government that Ireland's Forests are not for sale. These forests are the inheritance of the Irish children and managed wisely can help secure Ireland's social, environmental and economic future. A strong show of support, asserting our rightful ownership of the public forests will make all the difference.
We the undersigned,
Wish it be known that the public forests belong to the people of Ireland and under no circumstances should they be sold to private interests as a short-sighted economic reaction.
The economy of Ireland under the Gaelic Order was that of the forests. This great resource was the provider of raw materials, medicine, weapons, tools, charcoal and food (in the form of berries, nuts, fungi, fruit, wild animals, etc.) as well as the basis for spirituality and wisdom. No other country has as many placenames connected to the forest with as many as 40,000 still in existence. Our forests are of great cultural and economic importance, therefore in these uncertain times we must retain full control over this most precious resource.
The loss of our public forests will mean an area equivalent to two medium sized counties will be gone forever, all the potential benefits to local communities (now needed more than ever) will be lost. Access to rivers and water rights, fishing and hunting rights, wild fruits, nuts, mushrooms and basic access to nature will be removed, as well as the environmental services trees provide.
The Irish forests need to be placed in a trust to safeguard them now and into the future. We also wish to see the public forests developed and diversified to maximise their potential multiple benefits for the common good of the Nation. This should focus on the conservation, restoration, and enhancement of our neglected native tree species. The native trees of any place are scientifically recognised to be the most valuable land based habitat for biodiversity and ecosystem services.
We hope that you appreciate the seriousness of this matter, that you will reconsider any notion of selling the public forests and proceed to act in the best interests of the Irish people.
"Cad a dheanfaimid feasta gan adhmad?
Ta deireadh na gcoillte ar lar"
"What will we do without wood?, now the forest lies low"
Daibhi OBruadair (circa 1700's),abrehon poet lamenting the loss of the great Irish forests in his famous poem Caoine Cill Chais.
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