BY BRIAN MOORE
THERE was disappointment and annoyance at Agriculture Minister Michael Creed’s absence from a conference last week, aimed at promoting the planting of more forestry in West Cork.
Minister Creed had confirmed with the organisers, the Forestry Owners Cooperative Society, that he would attend the meeting, but sent his apologies before it started last Monday morning, stating that he needed to be at a meeting in Dublin concerning the latest Brexit developments.
Schull farmer Stephen Lynch told The Southern Star he was very disappointed that the Minister didn’t turn up.
‘More farmers need to look at planting trees and the government needs to do much more to encourage this. The rules and the red tape need to be sorted out and the Minister needs to listen to the farmers so that more will want to get into forestry,’ he said.
Forestry farmer Madeline McKeever from Turk Head said that Minister Creed’s absence was more than disappointing as she feels he missed out on an opportunity to hear the concerns of those thinking about planting trees and the more established farmers who are concerned for the future.
‘If the Minister said he was going to attend, then he should have,’ Madeleine said.
‘I think that we need to be growing our own hardwoods and we need a joined-up system, a countrywide plan to grow native varieties, and I think the minister would have heard that if he had attended.’
However, chairman of the Forestry Owners Cooperative Society, Tim McCarthy, said that the co-op would be writing to the Minister to let him know the concerns of all those who attended the event.
‘It is disappointing that the Minister could not attend, but taking the whole Brexit situation into context it is inevitable that this would happen. We will be letting him know just what concerns have been voiced here today,’ Tim said.
‘We have asked everybody to let us know what they would have brought to the Minister’s attention and we will be writing to him. We will be meeting with the Minister in the near future and will keep the pressure on to ensure that forestry is not ignored.’