MINISTER OF STATE ANDREW DOYLE ANNOUNCES THE OPENING OF FINANCIAL APPROVALS FOR THE AFFORESTATION SCHEMES

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Making the announcement, Minister Doyle added, “Since responsibility for forestry was assigned to me earlier this year, I have been encouraged by the level of interest in, and enthusiasm for, forestry among farmers and indeed other landowners. I believe that forestry is a viable land use option either on its own or in combination with other farming enterprises. As a Wicklow based farmer, I am no stranger to forestry and am well aware of its benefits as part of a diverse farming undertaking.”

The Minister continued, “The availability of establishment grants for the initial planting of the forest and premium payments for 15 years are widely known but are not the full story. Those contemplating forestry should also factor in the generous tax incentives for thinning and final harvesting so that both the medium to long term returns from forestry are taken into account and I believe that investment in forestry compares very favourably with investment in other enterprises”.
While noting the socio-economic benefits of forestry, Minister Doyle also highlighted that forestry is poised to play an important role in helping to meet the EU’s new proposal on emission targets to 2030 and the resultant importance for our environment that the current level of new forestry planting is not only maintained but increased year on year.

The Minister of State commented, in this regard, that “My Department, in close co-operation with Teagasc and an industry representative group, is in the process of drafting a new promotion plan for the sector. This will involve a co-ordinated approach by the industry as a whole, the core message of which is that forestry is a good option for farmers. This message, and an indication of this close collaboration between all elements within the forestry sector, is outlined in the new videos on forestry which are being shown on the Big Screen here at the Ploughing Championships.”

Minister Doyle concluded by saying: “I am aware of concerns about forestry in certain parts of the country but I can assure people that forestry can play an important part in the development of rural economies and that this can be achieved in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner. My personal experience of forestry has been very positive and I would encourage all farmers and landowners to consider forestry as an investment”.

MINISTER DOYLE PRESENTS WOOD FUEL QUALITY ASSURANCE SCHEME CERTIFICATE TO CLEARPOWER AT THE NATIONAL PLOUGHING CHAMPIONSHIPS

At the Ploughing Championships at Tullamore, Co Offaly today, Minister of State for Forestry, Andrew Doyle TD presented Clearpower, one of the main wood fuel and heating companies, with its membership of the Wood Fuel Quality Assurance Scheme. (From L to R) Ciarán O’Meara, Clearpower, Minister of State for Forestry, Andrew Doyle T.D. & Pat Murphy, WFQA.
At the Ploughing Championships at Tullamore, Co Offaly today, Minister of State for Forestry, Andrew Doyle TD presented Clearpower, one of the main wood fuel and heating companies, with its membership of the Wood Fuel Quality Assurance Scheme. (From L to R) Ciarán O’Meara, Clearpower, Minister of State for Forestry, Andrew Doyle T.D. & Pat Murphy, WFQA.

At the Ploughing Championships at Tullamore, Co Offaly today, Minister of State for Forestry, Andrew Doyle TD presented Clearpower, one of the main wood fuel and heating companies, with its membership of the Wood Fuel Quality Assurance Scheme. The scheme, which is run by the Irish Bioenergy Association – IrBEA, and supported by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, covers Wood Logs, Wood Briquettes, Wood Pellets and Wood Chip.

Speaking at the presentation the Minister said, “I am delighted to be here today to present Clearpower, one of the main woodfuel companies with its certificate of membership of the Wood Fuel Quality Assurance Scheme. The use of certified wood fuels is an important part of the growth of the forest-based biomass sector in Ireland. My Department supports the scheme as part of our commitment to fostering forest-based jobs and developing rural economies.”

The Minister went on to say, “Properly assured wood fuel means the consumer gets value for money from sustainably grown biomass. Assurance also supports the growth of wood fuel in Ireland, which reached close on 1.3 million cubic metres last year. That is equivalent to over 30,000 truckloads of timber leaving Irish forests each year.”

Mr Ciarán O’Meara of Clearpower said, “As an established provider of biomass fuel and maintenance services Clearpower Ltd. has long recognised the importance of a Wood Fuel Quality Assurance scheme to both industry stakeholders and consumers alike. Offering turnkey commercial biomass solutions incorporating design, build and operational services as well as fuel processing and supply, we at Clearpower are delighted to be WFQA certified.”

Ms Pat Murphy, Chair of the WFQA added “I am delighted that WFQA has continued to expand its membership and reach into the marketplace. We are determined to fully embrace consumer needs by providing quality assured wood fuels at a range of outlets across the country. We are always looking to improve our scheme, and to that end it has been updated to incorporate the latest European CEN woodfuel standards. So consumers should always be on the lookout for our bright flame logo that you can find at www.wfqa.org.”

RURAL DEVELOPMENT AND FARM DIVERSIFICATION PROMOTED IN NEW INITIATIVE LAUNCHED BY MINISTER DOYLE

Ploughing2016Two new initiatives to promote rural development and farm diversification were launched today by Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine, Andrew Doyle TD. The two initiatives are funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine under the CEDRA Innovation Fund.

Speaking from the Ploughing Championships in Screggan, where he launched the scheme, Minister Doyle said “There is huge untapped potential in rural Ireland. Opt-In will help equip rural dwellers with the information on training and up-skilling opportunities to help them to diversify their sources of income, and importantly to make the right choices for themselves and their families. I warmly welcome this initiative, funded by my Department under the CEDRA Innovation Fund” said Minister Doyle

Opt-in.ie

Opt-in.ie is a new website which provides information on local training and diversification opportunities for rural families. The website www.opt-in.ie was developed by Teagasc and contains advice in relation to training, skills development, and business development and diversification opportunities. The portal is being piloted for two counties – Limerick and Tipperary – with the intention of rolling it out nationwide in 2017.

The web portal will include regularly updated content on skills training, diversification and business development opportunities, provided to rural families by different providers including Local Enterprise Offices, Enterprise Training Boards, Local Development Companies, Skillsnet and Teagasc.

Rural Tourism

Minister Doyle also launched Rural Tourism, a publication aimed at guiding rural dwellers on diversification opportunities in agri-tourism. This publication, produced by Teagasc, provides important guidance which complements the resurgent interest in Irish food, heritage and holidays.

Minister Doyle said “Rural Tourism is a perfect way to encourage tourist footfall out of the towns and cities. There is such diversity in rural Ireland’s visitor activities and attractions, as well as in our specialist farm food producers. This publication provides important guidance which complements the resurgent interest in Irish food, heritage and holidays”.

Notes for Editors

Funding for both projects was provided by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine under the Commission for Economic Development of Rural Areas (CEDRA) Innovation Fund.

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Rural Tourism is available on the Teagasc website:

https://www.teagasc.ie/media/website/publications/2016/Rural-Tourism-Booklet.pdf

Doyle encourages forest owners to ‘talk timber’

Andrew Doyle, TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with responsibility for forestry opening the ‘Talking Timber’ event held today in the Auburn Lodge Hotel, Ennis, Co. Clare,
Andrew Doyle, TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with responsibility for forestry opening the ‘Talking Timber’ event held today in the Auburn Lodge Hotel, Ennis, Co. Clare,
In his opening address to the ‘Talking Timber’ event held today in the Auburn Lodge Hotel, Ennis, Co. Clare, Andrew Doyle, TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with responsibility for Forestry, highlighted the event as “an opportunity to learn and listen about the timber sales process and all that involves, particularly in relation to harvesting options and how to maximise return from your investment in forestry”.

In his opening speech to the attendance at the Ennis event, Minister of State Doyle commented that “A properly managed forest can provide an income through thinning, which in turn will help to maximise the volume and quality of the final timber crop, as well as the income for the forest owner at final felling stage” and continued “The options available to a forest owner considering harvesting or selling their timber have to be examined and considered. This event is an opportunity to find out more about the options available, to seek advice and make contacts and hopefully, bring away the knowledge you need to make an informed decision on how to proceed”.

The event was the second of three ‘Talking Timber’ events in 2016, organised by Teagasc in conjunction with the Department’s Forest Service and with the co-operation of the Irish timber industry. The first event took place in Letterkenny on Wednesday 7th September 2016 with the third event being held in the Rose Hotel, Tralee, Co. Kerry, tomorrow (Friday, 16th September 2016) commencing with registration at 9.30 am and the event itself taking place from 10am to 2pm.

He commended Teagasc, particularly the staff of the Forestry Development Department, for the organisation of the three events and thanked the other representatives of the forestry and timber sector for their support and participation in the events. He concluded by stating his belief “that this collaborative approach is essential in successfully promoting forestry and in pursuing the further development of the sector into the future”.

Tragic death of Irish Coast Guard volunteer highlights the grave risks faced by our rescue services – Doyle

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Fine Gael TD for Wicklow and Minister for Agriculture, Food, Forestry and Horticulture, Andrew Doyle, has said that the tragic death of Irish Coast Guard volunteer Caitriona Lucas off the coast of Co Clare during a search operation, highlights the grave risks faced by our rescue services.

“The brave people who volunteer for all of our search and rescue services deserve our upmost respect. Every time they go out to assist someone stranded at sea or up a mountain range they risk their lives for the safety of others.

“Caitriona Lucas, who lost her life while volunteering with the coastguard in a search and recovery operation in Kilkee Co. Clare yesterday was a wonderful and selfless person and her death highlights the real dangers faced by all of our emergency personnel. I would like to thank them all for the work they do every day.

“I want to express my sincere sympathies to Catriona’s Lucas’s family and friends, as well as the entire search and rescue community.”

Doyle encourages people in Wicklow and East Carlow to consider applying to new Garda recruitment campaign

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Fine Gael Wicklow East Carlow TD, Andrew Doyle, has welcomed the accelerated Garda recruitment campaign, which was launched today by the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice, Frances Fitzgerald.
 
“I would encourage people in Wicklow and East Carlow to consider applying to join An Garda Siochána. This new recruitment campaign will continue the ongoing accelerated recruitment to fulfil the Government’s commitment to increase the strength of An Garda Síochána to 15,000 members.
 
“It reflects the Government’s commitment to seamless ongoing recruitment to An Garda Síochána, to ensure that the force has the capacity to provide visible, responsive and effective policing to every community here in Wicklow and throughout the country.
 
“800 vacancies for Garda trainees are to be filled throughout 2017 and the closing date for applications is Thursday 29 September 2016. I encourage all those in Wicklow and East Carlow who are interested in joining An Garda Síochána to visit the website of the Public Appointments Service and submit their application at www.publicjobs.ie.
 
“It is essential to ensure that An Garda Síochána has the capacity to train larger numbers without reducing the quality of its training programme. It is also essential to provide appropriate supervision and support to newly qualified Gardaí to ensure that victims and the public are well served. I welcome the detailed planning process that the Commissioner and her team have in place to ensure the delivery of increased numbers of Gardaí without any compromise on the quality of those recruited or the training programme.
 
“Fine Gael is committed to supporting communities across Ireland and I am committed to ensuring that the support is felt here in Wicklow and East Carlow. We are working to ensure that the economic recovery, which is now underway, reaches all parts of the country and the benefits are felt inside every doorstep and in every community.”
 

Important upgrade works for 70 units in Old Court Estate Bray – Doyle

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Fine Gael TD for Wicklow and Minister for Agriculture, Food, Forestry and Horticulture, Andrew Doyle, has said that it’s great news that 70 housing units in the Old Court Estate in Bray County Wicklow have been approved for an energy efficiency upgrade.

“I am delighted to confirm that the 70 housing units are to be upgraded, at an estimated cost of €5.3 million. This follows approval under the Government’s Local Authority Housing Programme.

“The news was confirmed to me by the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Simon Coveney this week. I have been working very closely with the Minister and his Department on the need for more Local Authority housing in Wicklow.

“This is excellent news for the residents of Old Court and this work should be completed within two years. There is also good news for local employment in the area, as many jobs will be created during the upgrade work on these homes.

“Fine Gael has made housing the number one priority of this Government, and I am ensuring that Wicklow is not left behind. The Government’s Action Plan for Housing has a target of significantly increasing the supply of social housing, with an investment of €5.35 billion nationally to deliver 47,000 units by 2021. I will continue to work closely with Wicklow County Council and the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, to ensure that more Local Authority developments will be built in Wicklow over the coming years.”

Aspiring female entrepreneurs in rural Wicklow encouraged to apply for free development programme ACORNS

Fine Gael TD for Wicklow and Minister for Agriculture, Food, Forestry and Horticulture, Andrew Doyle, has welcomed the launch of the second year of a key development programme for aspiring rural female entrepreneurs, ACORNS.

“This important initiative is a six month part time key development programme for aspiring female entrepreneurs living in rural Ireland, who have recently started a business or who have taken concrete steps towards setting up a business. It is fully funded under the Departments of Agriculture’s CEDRA Rural Development and Innovation Fund and there is no charge for successful applicants.

“I believe that this programme could be of huge benefit to many female entrepreneurs living in rural areas of Wicklow and I would encourage them to apply.

“The objective of ACORNS is to equip these early stage entrepreneurs with the appropriate knowledge, confidence and networks to successfully start and develop sustainable businesses. It provides a safe, supportive, challenging, informative and highly collaborative environment, where entrepreneurs help entrepreneurs to learn from each other and benefit from positive peer pressure. A core element is the involvement of lead entrepreneurs, who have already started and successfully grown businesses in rural Ireland. These business women, on a voluntary basis, facilitate the interactive round table sessions, act as role models and mentor the successful applicants.

“In addition to being of benefit to the individuals concerned, the knock on impact of the ACORNS programme for local communities and the wider Irish economy is very significant.

“Last year 44 entrepreneurs completed the pilot ACORNS programme, with all participants reporting that participation was of value to their business.

“I’m delighted that this programme is now entering its second year and increased funding is being provided by CEDRA through the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine. We are delighted to be in a position to offer more places on the programme this year and to further support the development of those who participated in the ACORNS pilot.

“Fine Gael has made sure that rural development is a key priority in the Programme for a Partnership Government and my colleagues and I want to ensure that the fruits of our recovering economy are used to support local communities here in Wicklow.

“The deadline for application for this year’s ACORNS programme is Thursday 22nd of September 2016 and I would encourage interested female entrepreneurs in Wicklow to access information and register their interest at www.acorns.ie.”