Independent candidate, Jamie Murphy, criticises comments made by Coillte executive on forestry

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Community campaigner to run as independent in local elections in Leitrim

Independent Election candidate, Jamie Murphy from Manorhamilton

Independent local election candidate in the Manorhamilton municipal area, Jamie Murphy, has criticised comments made last week by Coillte executive, Ciaràn Fallon, at the conference of the Irish Planning Institute held in Carrick-on-Shannon.
Describing Sitka Spruce as the “Friesian cow of trees” Mr Fallon said 53% of Coillte forestry was Sitka Spruce and that Ireland had numerous advantages to other countries growing the non-native species.
Independent local election candidate, Mr Murphy said “at a time when so many communities across the county are seriously concerned about the impact that Sitka Spruce is having and when a government report has been commissioned into forestry in Leitrim, the comments were not helpful.
“Currently 50% of Leitrim’s agricultural land is planted with the non-native species.
“The level of afforestation of Sitka Spruce is having a detrimental impact on bio-diversity and local eco -systems and the ability of farmers with small holdings to make a sustainable living as they cannot compete with forestry companies purchasing land.
Mr Murphy added “we need to develop a vision and plan for Leitrim that includes forestry, but an emphasis on forestry that is native and better able to support local bio diversity and farmers who want to want to earn a living in Leitrim.”