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Written Answers - Forestry Sector

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 755 No. 1

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 28.  Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy  asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney  if, in view of the numbers of annual visitors to Donadea Forest Park, County Kildare, approximately 140,000, and the importance of the park to the local community and visitors from the greater Dublin area, he proposes any mechanism to preserve the distinct character, biodiversity, walking trails and visitor amenities of the park to ensure continued public use in the event of the sale of all or part of Coillte; if this forms part of a national plan for all such forest parks and woodlands; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7199/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney I am aware of the recreational importance of Donadea Forest Park and the work which has been undertaken there over the last number of years such as the upgrading of the facilities, the development of Walks and the erection of the 9/11 Memorial.

[111]I wish to reiterate that no decision has been taken by the Government in relation to the potential sale of all or part of Coillte. The consideration of a number of options in relation to the possible disposal of State assets is currently being undertaken by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, in consultation with relevant line Departments and NewERA. In any event any decision on the future of Coillte will not involve the sale of land.

I am also conscious that Coillte’s forests throughout the country provide a range of recreational opportunities for the general public continuing a long tradition of open access to state owned forests. While the development of a mechanism in relation to Donadea Forest Park specifically or the formulation of a national plan to safeguard such access would be somewhat premature at this stage, I wish to advise the Deputy that any potential disposal of Coillte assets will address the issue of public access to recreational land.

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