Irish Forest Industries To Double Output And Create Thousands Of Rural Jobs

Photo: Forestry.ie

Photo: Forestry.ie

Forestry owners, timber contractors and hauliers will earn €288,000,000 in Mayo by 2035

A new trade association for the forestry and timber industries - Forest Industries Ireland (FII ) - was officially launched as a new business sector within Ibec, the national business organisation. Almost all the major forestry and timber companies in Ireland are members of Forest Industries Ireland. They are drawn from across the industry and include all the largest timber processors as well as companies involved in the establishment and management of forests.

The industry is forecasting major growth in the coming years as the supply of raw material from Irish forests will double in the period 2017-2035. Stemming from this the industry estimates:

(1 ) Doubling of industry’s combined turnover from €800 million today to €1.6 billion by 2035.

(2 ) Creation of an additional 6,000 rural jobs on top of the 12,000 jobs already driven by the industry.

(3 ) A sizeable increase in the economic contribution of the sector from today’s €2.3 billion per annum.

(4 ) 21,000 forest owners who supply the raw timber product as well as the many timber contractors and hauliers that harvest and transport it to the sawmills will earn an estimated €6.4bn which is a further boost to rural economies of which €288,000,000 will be earned in Mayo

(5 ) Total employment in the forestry sector in County Mayo is estimated at 700 people.

(6 ) There are 1694 forestry owners in Co Mayo

The new association has 22 member companies from across the island which comprise the full span of the forestry supply chain. Forest Industries Ireland will spearhead the industry response to crucial challenges such as Brexit and will be the primary voice of the sector in Ireland. FII will work closely with Government to deliver the full potential of the industry and make commercial forestry an even more substantial employer and exporter.

Today, forests cover 11% of Ireland’s land area. The ‘gamechanger’ for the industry is the fact that timber output from Irish forests is set to double between now and 2035 which will double industry output. As trees grow fast due to the Irish climate, this gives a major competitive advantage to Ireland over other timber producing nations.

Brian Murphy, the inaugural Chairman of Forest Industries Ireland and CEO of Enniskillen-based timber processor Balcas, explained: “Forest Industries Ireland (FII ) is placing timber and forestry at the heart of Ireland’s rural economy. With a combined turnover of over €800 million, the industry is a major player in the rural and national economies. Our companies take pride in the high-quality employment we provide and the sustainable products we deliver.

“The industry is enjoying a period of major capital investment, market buoyancy and substantial growth in wood supply. These three elements will underpin growth for the industry that will see it double in size in the next two decades. FII and its member companies are committed to engendering the highest standards in the industry. Competitiveness, climate action, and sustainability go hand in hand and underpin long term growth and prosperity across this dynamic industry. We are proud to be delivering quality jobs especially to our rural communities and making a major contribution to the Irish economy, our society and the environment.

“The UK is the key market where we intend to increase market share and we will continue to grow our presence there. We are confident that the industry will prosper in the long term even with Brexit.

“As well as drive economic activity and employment, our forests absorb 3.6 million tonnes of C02 per year, the equivalent of annual CO2 emissions of 80% of the cars on Irish roads. Forests and wood products are a vital tool in our efforts to combat climate change. We have a natural advantage as we can grow trees twice as fast as some competitors. The Government should support our sector by continuing to invest in the national Forestry Programme and ensure that timber can be delivered to our sawmills."

Andrew Doyle, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture welcomed the launch of Forest Industries Ireland stating: "It demonstrates the industry is organising itself for the growth period ahead. I look forward to working closely with the companies as we strive to further Ireland’s forestry policy and continue to build a major industry for the country and especially our rural economy.”

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