Coillte U-turn welcomed by Workers Party

The Workers Party has welcomed yesterday’s decision by the cabinet to halt their privatisation plans for Coillte.

Padraig Mannion, Workers’ Party research officer stated: “The government u-turn on plans to privatise Coillte, the state forestry company, is for once a victory for the people, a victory for common sense, a victory for job creation, and a victory for the environment”.


“The government’s original privatisation plan for Coillte” continued Mr Mannion “introduced under cover of a Troika diktat, but completely in tune with the coalition’s privatisation philosophy, could only be described as national economic sabotage. It would have handed control of a 110 year national investment in our afforestation policy to the very bankers and speculators that brought this country to economic ruin”.


“The Irish forestry service was created 110 years ago in Avondale in Co Wicklow. It is a profitable company paying an annual dividend to the state. It employs almost 1,000 people directly, and hundreds more indirectly through subcontractors. Over 2,700 people employed in the timber processing industry rely directly on Coillte for continuity of supply and guaranteed pricing of raw timber. Many thousands of people in bars, cafes and hotels throughout the country rely on business generated by visitors to our publicly owned forestry. Privatisation put all those jobs in jeopardy”.


“Forestry is a long term industry. From planting to harvest can take forty years for softwoods and obviously much longer for hardwoods. As the owners of the company the public demands, and is entitled to, access to our woodlands for many different recreational pursuits. The public also demands high environmental standards, and appropriate replanting of felled timber. The proposed sell-off of an 80-year harvesting franchise, effectively emasculating Coillte as a commercial enterprise, put a huge public investment at risk.”


“The coalition of forces that opposed the sell-off of Coillte was unprecedented and shows the stupidity and anti-people nature of the original proposal. We congratulate all those who campaigned against privatisation. However, as the government’s underlying anti-public sector philosophy has not changed one iota, we caution the public to beware of government attempts at a covert and creeping privatisation process over the next couple of years”.

Peace, Work, Democracy & Class Politics