Serious flaws in afforestation exposed by C&AG Office - David Cullinane TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson for climate action and member of the PAC David Cullinane has said that the Comptroller and Auditor General's annual report reveals a government that is hell-bent on monoculture afforestation, despite the concerns of farmers, environmental groups, and even the EU.
It shows that Fine Gael is incapable of the long-term thinking that climate action demands.
Deputy Cullinane said:
"The government's afforestation program is fixated with the planting of Sitka Spruce, an approach that is having a detrimental effect in terms of biodiversity.
"It is also one that that unduly affected Leitrim, where the rate of afforestation was just over 24 times the level in Donegal between the years 2015 and 2018 - the vast majority of which was monoculture Sitka Spruce.
"The use of this tree has been criticised by farmers, environmental groups, and the EU, yet still Fine Gael continues with the policy.
"It has missed afforestation targets, neglected native species, and underspent on road infrastructure.
"It is clear what is needed - a proper state wide investment that provides opportunities for farmers in planting native forests rich in biodiversity and broadleaf plantations.
"All of this must be done with the fullest engagement with local communities.
"The days of corporate monoculture afforestation must come to an end."