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Ferris to raise possibility of sale of Coillte in Dáil

5 December, 2010 - by Martin Ferris TD

The Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Natural Resources Martin Ferris TD is to demand that the Government respond to reports that a bid has been made to buy Coillte. Coillte is responsible for state forestry which covers approximately 7% of the land mass of the state. It has been reported that the International Forestry Fund has put in a bid to buy Coillte. The Fund is a joint venture between IFS Asset management and the Swiss banking and asset management corporation Helvetia Wealth. Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern was appointed as Chairperson of the IFF in January this year. 

Deputy Ferris said: “I intend to raise this issue on Tuesday morning on the Order of Business directly before the Budget announcement. 

“I am doing so as a token of how serious is the possibility that 7% of our land could be sold to a private corporation. It is no coincidence I think that the expression of interest follows on the McCarthy report that Coillte be either privatised or asset stripped, and the pressure on the Government to sell off state assets as part of the IMF programme. 

“This can not be allowed to happen. Our forestry and the land are key national assets. They are capable of wealth generation and cannot be allowed to be sold off as part of an auction to help bail out the banks and to please Fianna Fáil’s IMF masters. 

“I also believe that the IFF has been in contact with the Chinese investment corporation which has bought former Greek state assets. 

“I will allow others to make what they will of our former Taoiseach’s part in all of this.”

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