‘The deal is done’ – Farm Secretary Charlie McConalogue on the controversial Coillte/Gresham House fund

Agriculture Secretary Charlie McConalogue has confirmed that “agreement has been reached between Coillte and Gresham House to set up a controversial €200m forestry fund” which will allow international private investors to enter the Irish forestry market.

Speaking before the Joint Oireachtas Agriculture Committee, he also confirmed that as of January 1 of this year, no program is available for a farmer to make a new application for afforestation or ash diet support – unless a prior license has been obtained by January 31 December 2022 .

While he said he hoped to get an application under state aid rules to the EU “within a month”, he also warned that the new forest scheme, with its higher rates of planting grants and premiums, would take “two to could take eight months”. to get the full green light from Brussels.

Mr McConaloged was asked by independent TD Michael Collins when he first learned of Coillte’s plans to work with UK-based wealth manager Gresham House on the Irish Strategic Forestry Fund – which aims to plant 3,500 hectares of bare land funded by taxpayers funded forest grants from the ministry will support premiums.

Fianna Fáil’s minister replied, saying: “Coillte wrote to me on 16 December to set out and confirm that they had signed a deal with Gresham House.

“The deal was already done by that point, the switch in ministerial appointments was the next day, and then the next week was Christmas week, so it was early January when I turned my attention to that,” he said, adding The subject was discussed not discussed at cabinet level.

He continued, “The fact that Coillte would seek private funding to enable them to farm 100,000ha [of new afforestation]I had known that since the pre-briefing at the end of 2021, it was common knowledge.

“Coillte is contractually bound by the deal and they have a commitment to that deal, it’s 3.5 percent of their overall ambition by 2050 and having reviewed the deal with them… it’s not our preferred course of action and we will do it much more information on how Coillte can also work directly with farmers.”

Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice asked if international investment funds involved in the new forest initiative can also receive direct payments under the Common Agricultural Policy if they have a flock number.

Department of Agriculture Assistant Secretary-General Colm Hayes responded: “A herd number defines you as a farmer, there are farmers who set up as a business, so a farmer can receive a uniform agricultural payment as long as they apply for a uniform agricultural payment since 2008.”

When asked whether the emerging foreign and domestic forest investment companies can claim the Department of Agriculture grants and awards and the grants for new establishments under the 2023-2027 forestry program on an annual basis, Mr. McConalogue said, “Yes, for 15 years.”

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/news/the-deal-is-done-agriculture-minister-charlie-mcconalogue-on-controversial-coilltegresham-house-fund-42313205.html ‘The deal is done’ – Farm Secretary Charlie McConalogue on the controversial Coillte/Gresham House fund

Fry Electronics Team

Fry Electronics.com is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – admin@fry-electronics.com. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button