WP rally to fight Coillte privatisation
As part of its campaign against the privatisation of Coillte the Workers' Party organised a "Family Day against Forestry privatisation" in Dún na Rí forest park, Kingscourt, Co Cavan on Sunday 16th June.
After a walk through the woods and a picnic the following address was delivered.

Dear Friends,


Right now, one of the greatest frauds ever against the Irish people is being perpetrated by the Irish government. Our national forestry service, organised through the publicly owned Coillte, is being set up for privatisation. Coillte is a commercially successful state company. Coillte is a socially responsible enterprise; it is increasing an ecologically aware company; it is a company integrated into life in every county in the country.


We are gathered here, people from different backgrounds, to protest against the proposed privatisation of Coillte. We know that valuable state assets should not be sold off to bankers and speculators because we do not forget that our present economic mess was caused by those very same bankers and speculators. We are not convinced by Colm McCarthy and his Bord Snip report because we know his conclusions were driven by ideology and not economics.


Today, in hundreds of woodlands across Ireland, tens of thousands of people are out and about enjoying our publicly owned forestry and forest parks. Some are having picnics, some are strolling along pathways; some are jogging and others are involved in serious treks and hill-walking excursions.


The people in our woodland today and every day range from toddler to pensioner; some are locals; some are internal tourists and many are visitors from overseas. It is a social activity; it is a healthy activity; but it is also an economic activity. How many people are working right now in coffee shops; in pubs and restaurants and hotels serving food and refreshment to some of the many thousands who have been out and about enjoying the great outdoors. And all this is possible not because we have forestry – but because we have publicly owned forestry which can look beyond the bottom line.


Tomorrow, Monday, marks the traditional start of the working week. Tomorrow 1,000 Irish men and women will go into Coillte offices and depots to starts their weeks work; tomorrow thousands of employees in subcontracting firms in logging; haulage, drainage and road-building will start work knowing their wages are guaranteed by Coillte. Tomorrow 2,700 staff in large processing plants like Medite, or in small local sawmills, and even in hurley making workshops will start work knowing that they have a guaranteed supply and a guaranteed price for their raw material.


Sadly we all know that if Coillte is sold, and becomes part of some giant multi-national forestry conglomerate, then these jobs are history. Our timber will be chopped down and shipped out of the country to existing processing plants abroad. We know this will happen because we have seen every last ounce of some of Europe’s lead and zinc mines scooped into huge trucks and exported through the ports of Galway, Drogheda and Waterford.


This year marks the 110th anniversary of the creation of the Irish Forestry Service. In that 110 year period, and despite many national and international cataclysmic events, our Forestry Industry grew and developed. The fact that it is both a flourishing and sustainable industry as well as being a vital social resource is a tribute to foresight, perseverance, patriotism and long-term national investment.


We cannot let this history, this heritage, this industry, this resource be taken away from the Irish people. We in the Workers Party are convinced that this battle can be won. A huge coalition of concerned citizens, of trade unionists, of working class people directly and indirectly affected by Coillte can be built and is being built. We can win but only if we stay united, stay focussed, and refuse to be fobbed off by platitudes.


Thank you for your attention.

Enter supporting content here