Sinn Féin Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh has called for the proposed sale of 26 acres of Coillte owned woodland in Clarinbridge to be halted immediately to allow for further local consultation and a full assessment of the potential of the State owned asset.
The land in Kilcornan fronts onto the link road between Clarinbridge village and the Galway to Craughwell road, and backs on to the Clarin River. The plot has been placed for sale by private treaty with Galway auctioneering firm DNG Maxwell Heaslip & Leonard.
Galway West – South Mayo Senator Ó Clochartaigh says local residents are very unhappy with the proposed sale to private interests, as there are a number of issues relating to protection of adjacent lands from flooding, heritage and nature concerns. Residents maintain that clarification needs to be given in relation to right-of-way for any new owners, the potential use of the lands, what felling licences are in place and why a valuable State asset is being sold off in such a hasty manner?"
The senator also expressed concerns about the environmental impact. "I am told the woods are a hive of activity for red squirrels, kestrels, sparrowhawks, pine martens, barn owls, and other important species. It is also home to a community of badgers which are subject to a Department of Agriculture study into combatting tuberculosis. It is important Coillte discloses all of the environmental impact reports that have been done before this sale proceeds, and the implications of the sale in that regard are fully debated."
Galway West Deputy Noel Grealish is asking Coillte CEO Fergal Leamy for an explanation for selling the land.
“Local residents are concerned the land will be made available to a developer for housing,which may have an impact on flooding in the area."
Dep Grealish isasking Mr Leamy to send a representative to a public meeting in Clarinbridge to discuss the proposed sale. "I believe it would be an important step in securing local support for any future plans for this site," he concluded.
In a statement to the Galway Advertiser last week, Coillte said prior to the land being placed on the market, an environmental assessment and a due diligence process was carried out by Coillte. "In addition, and as part of an established consultation process in relation to the sale of land, a Coillte representative consulted with residents.The proposed sale is part of a long established and open process by which Coillte manage the estate by buying and selling land on an ongoing basis."
"Access to farmlands at the rear of the property exists through right-of-way access, which is currently used by Coillte. This right-of-way will not be affected by any potential sale of the Clarinbridge site as it is separately owned."