Irish Forestry Programme 2023–2027 Delayed and Criticized
Minister of State Pippa Hackett, responsible for land use, biodiversity, and forestry, recently expressed her “vision” while welcoming the Forestry Programme 2023–2027. However, the program has faced significant delays due to objections from various organizations, some of which are believed to be supporters of Minister Hackett’s party. This delay has been a cause for concern, as the previous Forestry Programme ended in 2020, leaving the industry in a state of uncertainty.
Critics argue that Minister Hackett’s tenure has been marked by a lack of vision and the virtual collapse of the forestry industry. They accuse her and her colleagues within the Forest Service of attempting to “Disneyify” the industry, neglecting the need for efficient administration and ethical practices. As a result, many foresters have been forced to seek employment abroad, particularly in countries like New Zealand and Canada.
At a time when the importance of trees in capturing carbon is widely recognized, Minister Hackett’s approach to tree-planting has been called into question. Some argue that her actions contradict the urgent need to prioritize afforestation. Furthermore, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Tánaiste Micheál Martin share the blame for this situation, as they included forestry as part of the coalition government deal with the Green Party.
Richard Romer, a forester from Ennis, Co. Clare, has criticized Minister Hackett’s stewardship of the forestry sector. He believes that forestry requires statesmanship, a quality he feels is lacking among politicians. Romer highlights the three-year delay in providing a new forestry program and the absence of a comprehensive plan or application form. He calls for Minister Hackett to take responsibility for her alleged incompetence and for the abolition of the Forest Service, suggesting that it be replaced by an independent forest authority.
In conclusion, the Forestry Programme 2023–2027 has faced significant delays and criticism. Minister Hackett’s leadership and the actions of the Forest Service have been called into question, with concerns raised about the future of the forestry industry. It remains to be seen how the government will address these issues and ensure the sustainable development of Ireland’s forests.