Dáil Éireann - Volume 603 - 14 June, 2005
Written Answers. - National Forestry Strategy.
Ms B. Moynihan-Cronin Ms B. Moynihan-Cronin
563. Ms B. Moynihan-Cronin asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the steps she intends to take at EU level and domestically to secure funding for the full implementation of the national forestry strategy (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19865/05]
Mary Coughlan Mary Coughlan
Mary Coughlan:Implementation of the forestry strategy is related to the package of supports that provides an incentive for landowners to plant, particularly farmers. I have been pressing strongly that under the proposed new rural development regulation, which is the subject of ongoing negotiations at the Council of Ministers, an adequate package of supports for 2007-13 is agreed.
Throughout the negotiations so far, the Irish position on the draft regulation, including the specific aspects related to forestry, has been clear. On these forestry aspects I have argued strongly that the original proposals would have serious implications for the sector, particularly those  relating to reduced establishment grants, premiums and associated premium payment periods.
For 2005, I have made sufficient funds available to support increased planting, with a total annual allocation of €124 million, the largest funding package ever allocated to forestry. In addition, the current availability of grant aid at 100% for planting and the annual premiums, and particularly the concession obtained on the consolidation of entitlements vis-à-vis the single payment scheme, make forestry a very attractive land-use option for farmers.
Dáil Éireann 603 Written Answers. National Forestry Strategy.