New forest industry grouping sets ambitious targets

A new trade association for the forestry and timber industries forecasts major growth, as the supply of raw material from Irish forests doubles in the period to 2035.

Forest Industries Ireland (FII), officially launched today, predicts €6.4 billion will be earned by 21,000 forest owners who supply the raw timber product, and the many timber contractors and hauliers that harvest and transport it to the sawmills, by 2035.

Almost all the major forestry and timber companies in Ireland are members of FII.

They include the largest timber processors, as well as companies in the establishment and management of forests.

Mark McAuley, Director, left, and Brian Murphy, inaugural chairman at the launch of Forest Industries Ireland (FII).

FII predicts creation of an additional 6,000 rural jobs on top of 12,000 existing jobs.

The new association will spearhead the industry response to crucial challenges such as Brexit, and will be the primary voice of the sector in Ireland, working closely with Government to deliver the full potential of the industry.

Brian Murphy, the inaugural chairman of FII, CEO of the Enniskillen-based timber processor, Balcas, said, “The industry is enjoying a period of major capital investment, market buoyancy and substantial growth in wood supply.”

“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 driving economic activity and employment, our forests absorb 3.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, the equivalent of annual emissions of 80% of the cars on Irish roads.

“Forests and wood products are a vital tool in our efforts to combat climate change.”

Andrew Doyle, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture welcomed the launch of FII.

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