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Forestry issues: Woodland league press release

The decision was appealed by the Derrybrien group, and the appeal was based on the fact that the EU court recently ruled that Coillte was a public body. (Up until this point, Coillte have been claiming to be a private entity).Coillte had claimed millions of euro in EU grants that were supposed to be destined for private forestry growers, and this now has to be repayed.One of the off-shoots of this decision was the fact that Coillte, as apublic entity, are bound under the FOI acts. They are probably going to fight the Derrybrien request in the courts, but it is very likely thatDerrybrien will win the right to the FOI.Anyways, as we know the deal between Coillte and shell was very hush-hush (is it still the case that the amount Shell paid for the land is stillunknown?). What I would suggest is that Freedom of Information requests be sent in regarding the deal done between Coillte and Shell.Regards (and in continued support),Ciaran Hughes,Secretary,The Woodland

WLL Press ReleaseWoodland League support For the Five Jailed by ShellWoodland League press release. 30th June 2005. The Woodland League would like to express our continued support for theopposition of the Shell Gas pipeline and refinery, especially in light of the recent jailing of the five Mayo men fighting to preserve theirconstitutional and community rights. Our government conveniently forgets the rights of the people of Ireland when the opportunity arises to make money.The Shell gas refinery is to be built on 165 acres of Coillte land. The land was sold by the state owned forestry company at a price that has been undisclosed, for reasons of 'commercial secrecy'.In the early 1970s, all the forestry under state control was given to the people of Ireland, and to the people of Ireland they belonged. It was put under the stewardship of the Land Commission. In 1988, when CoillteTeoranta was initially formed, all forest land under the control of the Land Commission was passed to Coillte Teoranta, with the sole mandate of making profit. This was possibly the biggest deceit of the Irish public in recent history. There was no referendum as to whether the public's land, our land, should be passed to this ''semi-state'' body.Now, 17 years later, we see Coillte Teoranta selling land to Shell in an action that is so obviously against the wishes of the public. The deceit continues, because after all, the public are the true owners of the land that Coillte sold - and the public, in no uncertain terms, did not agree to sell the land to Shell. Coillte are continuing their unsustainable sale of public land to private companies. Let us not forget the sale of the land under the Coca Cola factory in Ballina, and the attempted sale of the high amenity park in Monivea. Coillte's profits last year rose by 37% from 2003, and this was by and large because of their continued land sale and development businesses that are outside their forestry remit.We feel that the sale of land for the development of the Shell refinery and pipeline are counter the Aarhus Agreement and Local Agenda 21, as well as the States commitments to sustainable forestry under the Helsinkiconvention. Coillte are required to adhere to all international agreements signed by the state under their Forest Stewardship Council certificate, and yet when the time suits to make money, they ignore their requirements. This is yet another reason for their FSC certification to be revoked immediately.This semi-state body are neglecting their core business, which is forestry, and now appear to be geared up to become one of the largest land development companies in Ireland. They are facilitating big businesses and multinationals at the continued expense of the local and indigenous communities. What are the benefits to the local community and the public at large of such developments?On a wider scale, the entire project is counter the states commitment to Local Agenda 21 and to the Aarhus agreement. There is a groundswell of opposition to the Shell development, and the state is ignoring it.The wrong people are in jail today. Brian Cowen, Minister for ForeignAffairs, and the Minister for State at the Department of Agriculture and Food, John Browne are the men who should be behind bars, not these five outstanding Irish citizens.We are calling for all charges to be dropped against Philip McGrath, Willie Corduff, Vincent McGrath, James Brendan Philbin and Michael O'Seighin.With regards,Andrew St. Ledger (PRO) and Ciaran Hughes (Secretary) The Woodland League +353-(0) c/o Ciaran Hughes,Caherawoneen,Kinvara,County Galway

Posted Date: 
5 July 2005 - 12:13pm