Dáil Éireann - Volume 602 - 11 May, 2005

Written Answers. - Rural Development.

  231. Mr. Lowry asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food her views on a proposal (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [15628/05]

  Mary Coughlan: The issues raised by the Deputy relate to the forestry elements contained in the draft Rural Development Regulation 2007-2013, first published by the European Commission in July 2004 and which is the subject of ongoing negotiations in the Council of Ministers.

From the outset, the Irish position on the draft regulation in general, including the specific aspects related to forestry, has been clear. On these forestry aspects I have pointed to the negative impacts that the proposals would have on the sector, particularly those relating to reduced establishment grants, premiums and associated premium payment periods.

Forestry is only one element of the wider rural development proposals, but a very important one for Ireland and for those countries with active afforestation programmes. As the overall negotiations move to an expected conclusion in June, I will be pressing for a satisfactory outcome for Ireland on the package as a whole, which will include an outcome on forestry which best suits our particular needs.