A County Roscommon landowner is expressing huge disappointment with Coillte about a partnership he entered into with them on forestry.
Gerry Queenan who planted 32 hectares of forestry in south Sligo almost twenty years ago says that the forests haven’t been managed properly and he doesn’t know what payments he can get anymore.
Mr Queenan claims that because the plantation hasn’t been properly thinned, his annuity payment has been affected and he’s also unsure of what impact this will have in years to come.
Speaking on Let’s Talk today, Gerry Queenan says he’s very unhappy at the lack of communication over recent years with Coillte when he has been trying to resolve issues.
Coillte maintains there has been engagement with Mr Queenan, and a detailed 10 year management plan in 2012 was made available to him.
They say they hope to resolve issues in relation to thinning of the forest shortly, and to carry it out this year.
Pat Collins who’s Chairman of the IFA Forestry Committee says that the semi-state body needs to meet with farmers in a public forum and discuss their very serious concerns.
Statement issued by Coillte in response to concerns
Coillte is actively working to improve the transparency and level of information provided to farm partners and from this year partners who are due to receive annuities in the coming years will receive an annual statement that includes payment information. Coillte has retained KPMG to carry out an independent review of how payments are calculated, to demonstrate transparency and to provide partners with increased confidence. KPMG is a highly reputable audit company with extensive commercial experience across all business areas.
In relation to Mr. Queenan’s partnership, Coillte completed a detailed 10 year management plan in 2012 which was made available to Mr. Queenan. This plan indicated that a portion of the crop would be thinned in 2016 and a further portion would be thinned in 2021. The forecast thinning in 2016 did not happen due to issues in relation to consents for road construction which were outside both partners control. This issue is progressing and we are hopeful that we will have a resolution shortly and the thinning will take place this year.
Annuities for farm partners are calculated based on a total forecast profit from thinnings during the full rotation of the crop. The annuities are paid every year from the expiry of grant premiums until clearfell. This is reviewed and updated after actual thinning events. The timing of thinnings does not have any material impact on the value or timing of annuity payments.