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26 Jun 2022

Offaly TD says Department are carrying out poll they already have answer to

Offaly TD says Department are carrying out poll they already have answer to

Offaly TD says Department are carrying out poll they already have answer to

Independent TD for Laois-Offaly Carol Nolan has questioned the necessity of a poll conducted by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine on the public's attitudes to afforestation in Ireland.

Deputy Nolan was speaking after the department confirmed to her that a sample poll of 1,000 adults (aged 16+) was conducted at a commercial cost of €22,635.

"Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Pippa Hackett confirmed last week that a survey of this kind had been recently conducted which would contribute to the development of a New Shared Vision and Forestry Strategy for Ireland," Deputy Nolan said.

“I am a firm believer in the need to create spaces and platforms in which the public can share their views on policy areas that have an impact on their lives. That should be a given as far as I am concerned.

"However, we have known for several years now that there is an overwhelmingly positive attitude to forests and afforestation in this country, and that in general terms many people have great memories of time spent walking or hiking in forests.

"Indeed, we have also known since March 2021 following a Coillte commissioned RED C survey to celebrate National Tree Week, that 86% of Irish people agreed with the statement that we need to grow more trees while 91% understand that trees convert carbon dioxide into oxygen and clean the air we breathe.

"In light of this already existing data, I really do question the cost-benefit value of this latest commercial poll which has just landed the general public with a bill of almost twenty-three thousand euros.

"In addition to this we also have the ongoing work of the Forestry Policy Group which routinely performs its own analyses that are feeding into the new forestry strategy.

"I would therefore urge Minister Hackett to avoid duplicating work that already exists and to focus instead on the addressing full-time the ongoing crisis within the commercial forestry licencing sector,” concluded Deputy Nolan.

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