Independent TD for Laois Offaly, Carol Nolan, has said that the Government must consider the immediate removal of all Coillte board members who were appointed by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
Deputy Nolan was speaking as unprecedented levels of outrage continue to grow in the face of a deal between the state forestry management body, Coillte, and the UK private investment firm, Gresham House, which would result in the UK company potentially claiming ownership of up 100,000ha of Irish forestry land.
Nolan said that “Under the terms of Coillte’s corporate governance, all the Directors are appointed to the Board by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine and almost all significant contracts, major investments and capital expenditure are subject to review by this Board,”
She added that “given the near universal agreement by forestry organisations, farming organisations and environmental groups that this deal is an unmitigated disaster, the Minister must consider removing the Directors appointed by his office for spectacularly bad judgement,”.
Deputy Nolan continued, “This is a horrible deal that will push out Irish farmers and landowners and turn one of our greatest natural resources into speculative financial assets that will bring no clear benefit to the country or our economy. I will not see the forests of Laois and Offaly subjected to that kind of shadow and threat.”
She added that the deal “must be reversed and that the minister “must intervene and he, along with the Minister of State for Land Use and Biodiversity, Pippa Hackett, must have the political humility to admit that they have gotten this one horribly wrong,”.