Fianna Fáil TD for Sligo-Leitrim Marc Mac Sharry has requested that the Forestry Appeals Board come before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture to address the  concerns in relation to the methodology, criteria and process which the Forestry Appeal Committee have applied to County Leitrim forestry applications.

Deputy Mac Sharry has written to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture Chairman Pat Deering TD seeking a committee hearing with the Forestry Appeals Board to address the many concerns being raised by concerned communities throughout the north west, and in particular County Leitrim, where more than 50% of traditional agricultural land is now planted.

Deputy Mac Sharry commented “The many constituents in Leitrim who have contacted me have grave concerns with the continued planting of forestry in the county. The current situation is not sustainable.

“I have requested that the Forestry Appeals Board come before the Agriculture Committee to answer questions to members on behalf of concerned communities.

“Almost a year ago to the day I raised serious concerns on this matter and since then the anxieties of constituents in the north west have only increased.  As a nation we all want to play our part on climate change and reaching our forestry targets however it is not reasonable for County Leitrim to be expected to shoulder such a disproportionate amount of the burden.

“As things stand more than 50% of traditional farming land in County Leitrim has been planted.  Much of it with invasive species which is not helping our environment. In addition, it threatens the future viability of traditional suckler and sheep farming in the area.

“Forestry planting must be spread proportionately in all regions with an emphasis on mixed forestry which includes greater native and broadleaf coverage. County Leitrim and much of the north west have done their fair share.

“I very much hope that the Oireachtas Agriculture Committee Chairman Deputy Deering accedes to my request so that members can advance the case on behalf of County Leitrim and ask pertinent questions as to why appeals are all too often falling on deaf ears,” concluded Deputy Mac Sharry.