Let's keep an eye on Coillte

truthforsooth

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i know that some of this content has already been aired elsewhere (e.g. http://www.politics.ie/current-affairs/119772-bertie-become-chairman-international-forestry-fund-13.html but I think it's worthwhile opening a new thread, and I hope that it attracts the attention of a lot of people.

Coillte, the State forestry body, claims to be a private company whose shareholders are the Ministers for Finance and Agriculture.
This claim has been overturned by the binding judgement of the European Court of Justice in which Coillte's view of its status as a private company was rejected. In Case C-339/00, Ireland v. Commission of the European Communities [2003] ECR I-11757, the Court (Fifth Chamber) held that, "as a public undertaking" Coillte was not able to receive grant-aid (as a private entity) under the EU afforestation programme.
Nonetheless, Coillte claims not to be bound by the Freedom of Information Act due to its status as private company.

Coillte owns the Irish State's forest estate and a lot of other land - in total somewhere between 6 and 10% of the land area of the republic. Much of this was acquired through compulsory acquisition of one sort or another that can only be justified if Coillte acts in the interests of the people of the State, from whom this land was acquired.

The issue now is that there is likely to be an attempt to sell Coillte soon. In these panicky times this could be slipped through quite easily - after all, the McCarthy report suggested the sale of such State assets.
If this happens, not only will a large percentage of Ireland's land be owned by foreign interests, but the future potential earnings in carbon credits - the real economic value of the forest estate - will have been lost.

Now, obviously the Government will support this. It has been clear for some time that this country is being manouevred into a position whereby its assets can be stripped. Maybe some losses cannot be avoided.

This one, however, is just too important. Please keep a watch on what is happening, and insist that these forest estates belong to us, the Irish people.

This isn't a socialist appeal, or anti-corporate. It's a call to prevent theft.

Instead of making this OP even longer than it is, I'll provide a link to some other info on the situation:
Stop the Sale of... | Facebook
 


truthforsooth

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surely lessons will be learned from Greencore!
Oh no this isn't incompetence or error. It's wilful and systemic greed and dishonesty. The company operates in such a way as to insulate it from the interests and inputs of the people on whose behalf it supposed to be acting.
In fact, in its claim for FSC certification (a forestry eco-label) it denies that there is such a thing as indigenous people living in Ireland, as indigenous peoples have rights under international agreements to a say in how their forests are managed.
 

shyster

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This is interesting, and worrying. Do you have a link TruthForsooth regarding the FSC creditation? Perhaps it's some sort of legalese that they all engage in?
 

Murra

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I appreciate your concerns truth, but won't it be done and dusted behind our backs and we'll only find out about it when it's too late? Isn't that the way our FF Govt works?
 

ManfredJudge

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Trees are properly planted by digging where they are being planted which a shovel. Coillte on the other hand ... .
 

truthforsooth

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This is interesting, and worrying. Do you have a link TruthForsooth regarding the FSC creditation? Perhaps it's some sort of legalese that they all engage in?
I don't directly have one, and I'm afraid (on mature recollection!) that what I said wasn't quite accurate.

It was actually the IFCI (Irish Forestry Certification Initiative) Draft Standards 1,2 and 3, and the latest incarnation FSC Ireland's Draft Standard, that were accepted by FSC International - the certifying body - as the standard by which to certify Coillte (though these standards were opposed by social and environmental stakeholders).

These Draft Standards made the statement that there are no indigenous people in Ireland.

Cairde na Coille made their objection in 2009 as follows
IRISH FORESTRY FSC CERTIFICATION A DISASTER

"The one principle that gives local communities a strong say in forestry operations, is Indigenous peoples rights - Principle 3. In this latest draft as in the 2nd and 3rd, which disenfranchised NGOs consistently complained about, it has been agreed behind closed doors that Indigenous people do not exist in Ireland. By denying the people their birthright, a huge raft of rights is removed from the people. It is also stated that as it is too hard to determine local community's legal rights, this too should be conveniently ignored. This proviso will ensure no future legal disputes regarding land left in trust to the Irish people."

You can probably find the IFCI / FSC Ireland draft standards somewhere on the Net.
 

truthforsooth

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I appreciate your concerns truth, but won't it be done and dusted behind our backs and we'll only find out about it when it's too late? Isn't that the way our FF Govt works?
That's the way it has always worked. The Govt won't change that, so we'll have to, or else we'll find ourselves living in a land that has been sold lough, rock and oil barrel from under our sleepy eyes.
 

Mousey

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It has been clear for some time that this country is being manouevred into a position whereby its assets can be stripped. Maybe some losses cannot be avoided.
Ok, I can see that perhaps our water is being readied for sale, oil/gas given away by all accounts, now forests ... What else do you think is vulnerable? Who do you think is doing the manoeuvring? What do we need to do to protect our resources? And what losses do you think might not be avoided?
 

charley

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Coilte and the ESB will be sold to keep the IMF happy. Get the chainsaws ready and leave the b*****d's with nothing but cleared forests and sawn off poles
 

truthforsooth

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Ok, I can see that perhaps our water is being readied for sale, oil/gas given away by all accounts, now forests ... What else do you think is vulnerable? Who do you think is doing the manoeuvring? What do we need to do to protect our resources? And what losses do you think might not be avoided?
Oh, Mousey, I wish I had those answers at the ready. I wish I had them at all.
Let me think about it for a while so I can formulate a decent response.
 

junius

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Serious is right! Is there no end to the deceit this Government will stoop to? I can't get my head around the attitude of the people either - they tut and tut and say how terrible it all is ......and then they proceed to do absolutely nothing!

And liars still get invited on the radio to spout absolute untruths because criminals like Paul Williams have given them some sort of idea that they are entitled to speak! When will truth and honesty win the day? This is despairing! We must never give up and we must demand truth, honesty and fairness within those who govern us so the corruption which is rife in this country is stopped.
 

Socratus O' Pericles

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Large tranches of the state /semi state sector can be privatised and certain people on P.ie think this will be a good thing.
As has been said oil/gas/mineral rights have been given away for free.
Health has been substantially privatised.
Electricity and gas distribution i.e. BGE and the ESB will be privatised.
Motor Tax will be privatised and this will lead to a series of financial services dominoes falling from public to private hands e.g. public service grants, social welfare ,payroll and pensions for the new recruits could be privatised over a mid run time line.
Water will be privatised.
What next? Security services, immigration &courts service --why not?

In the end you can have a small strategic apex requesting and applying limited public services from a range of private companies. This is small government the nirvana of liberals /neo liberals and libertarians. This is where everybody stands for themselves and no one else. The skangers and slackers, the people letting on to be poor and sick. These people so often pilloried on this site will find no comfort under this regime.

How can you prevent this-you can start by marching tomorrow.
 

retep

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This nothing short of a national scandal and potentially far worse than our sell our with relation to Irish sugar. It's time to do everything in our power to try to stop it. I'm writing letters to various politicians as I sit here.
 

lostexpectation

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Vote_No_on_Everything

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Good thread, is it realy 6 to 10% of the republic ? Thats a lot of land to have in foreign ownership.
 

truthforsooth

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I hereby copy and paste most of a briefing document that is being circulated at the moment, researched and written by an environmental activist (I hope he doesn't mind me labelling him!), which formulates the issues, their ramifications and which is also a call to vigilance and action:

This is a short briefing regarding the privatization of Coilte. It needs to be considered along with the takeover of our other natural resources, including – but not limited to- oil and gas, water, minerals, fish, seeds and various utilities.

The Situation
According to information received from the Woodland league, from a trawl of Politics.ie as well as from private conversations over the last few weeks, a company by the name of International Forestry Fund 2010, in a joint venture with Helvetia Wealth AG of Switzerland and IFS asset Managers Ltd have expressed an interst in purchasing Coilte, (the Irish forestry body that currently holds a land area in this country approaching 1.5 million acres) if it is placed on the market.


For further research and sources:
Woodland League - Restoring the relationship between people and their woodlands - restoring the relationship between people and their native woodlands.
Big respect to them for all the work they have done on this topic.

http://www.coilte.ie

The International Forestry Funds A British Virgin Islands registered company established in March 2009 as a joint venture between IFS Asset Managers Ltd of Ireland and Helvetia AG of Switzerland. In Jan 2010 one Bertie Aherne was appointed Chair of IFF.
Dublin address: 43,Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin 2.

IFS assets; IFS Asset Managers
Helvetia Wealth AG; International Wealth Creation and Asset Management | Investment Advice | Offshore Banking | Helvetia Wealth - Helvetia Wealth

Politics.ie - The Irish Politics Website

When Bertie Ahern was Minister of Finance in 1993 (the Minister for Finance holds 99shares in Coilte) he oversaw the establishment of the Irish Forest Unit Trusts, a pension scheme set up jointly with Allied Irish Banks and Irish Life. Minimum investment in this fund was €100 000 and it was set up using state land. The amount of forestlands given to IFORUT ( Irish Forest Unit Trust ) was 15million punts worth to start them off, this gave them an asset base.

Coillte sold a further 33 million euros worth of forest to IFORUT in 2009 which was reported in Coillte’s accounts. A community in South Galway were recently shocked to discover their local woodland of Chevy Chase was being clear felled as part of this .enterprise.

Last year’s McCarthy report recommended that Coilte be privatized:

Consistent with the reduction in available Exchequer resources, the Group puts forward a range of reductions in administratitive costs and increased flexibility and recommends that the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry should conduct a review w3with a view to reducing administrative costs. In particular, we see significant scope for the outsourcing of payment processing activities.
In addition, the Group has suggested exploring avenues which could provide once off receipts for the Exchequer.

• dispose of non-essential land/property holdings owned by the State Agencies;

• sell surplus Teagasc assets; and

• review the operations of Coillte with a view to realising optimal return through
rationalisation, asset disposal and, possibly, privatisation.”

Coillte has form when it comes to disposing of this country’s forest assets.

Implications
If Coillte falls into private hands we will have even less control over a large chunk (an area approximately equivalent to 2 county Meaths) of this country’s land mass than we do already. The lofty sounding vision statement of IFF notwithstanding we may see the planting of GM trees, we may lose access to this land for walking, camping, firewood collection, fishing, water supply and other purposes.
This has huge implications for our access to water. If we lose access to that land we also lose access to a large part of our water catchment, purification and supply system which leaves us in a very vulnerable position.
The arrival of the IMF to these shores means that the stripping of this country’s assets and resources is being accelerated. We need these resources to continue living here. We also have a duty of care towards them and towards future generations that will have need of them.
Responses
People need to know about this. Please forward this info. Leaflets, handing out leaflets at Coilte sites used as recreational amenities, , workshops and information talks
The scale of the problem demands a collective response.
The effective husbanding of resources is best left in the hands of those who use them and live locally.
This becomes a survival issue if factors like climate change and fossil fuel depletion come into play.
In the event of transport and supply interruptions we will be dependent on these local resources so we have a huge vested interest in ensuring our continued access to them.
If they are in the possession of vast corporations who are making us pay for what we have a right to, we have a problem. This threat needs to be removed.

Communities and individuals need to begin assessing the resources in their areas, examine their levels of dependence on them and be vigilant for any threats to them. This could be a key step in reversing the process of dispossession that history has wrought on us.
Time for a new Land League
 

truthforsooth

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