THE IFA, among others, have expressed grave concern over the country’s best national asset, its sovereign land, being sold to an international investment company.

Sovereign land will be lost due to Coillte deal

Deal is equivalent of removing 3,000 averaged-sized family farms from country

COILLTE'S decision to join forces with an English investment firm to buy up 12,000 hectares of Irish forestry and bare land is the equivalent of removing 3,000 averaged-sized family farms from the country.

The Strategic Investment Fund (SIF) announcement this month sees Coillte partnering with Gresham House PLC to acquire the lands.

It has led to the semi-state body being criticised in many quarters for selling out to international ‘big business’ to the detriment of pricing the lay Irish farmer out of buying lands, and the move was strongly opposed at a recent Galway IFA executive meeting.

“This is the first step in Coillte’s strategic vision to act as an agent on behalf of foreign and national investment funds to transition 100,000 hectares of Irish farmland out of local farm ownership for afforestation by funds,” said Galway IFA Chairman Stephen Canavan.

Mr Canavan also lamented the fact that the Irish taxpayer will bear the cost of Coillte and Gresham House’s deal...

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