Fine Gael Senator Tony Mulcahy says Clare has received the fourth highest level of forestry premium payments in the country so far in 2014.
Figures obtained by Senator Mulcahy from the Department of Agriculture’s Forestry Division show that €4,874,629 in annual tax-free forestry premium payments was allocated between January 1st and April 9th.
The payments have been made under the Department’s Afforestation Grant and Premium Scheme as part of the Forestry Programme. The Scheme provides planting and establishment grants as well as annual premiums for new afforestation projects that are compliant with national and EU legislation, operational and environmental guidelines.
Senator Mulcahy explained that the majority of payments to Clare forestry owners have been made ahead of the normal payment run in April due to efficiencies delivered by recently expanded forestry online services.
He added: “There is usually a main forestry premium payment run each year at which time most forest owners, to whom a premium payment is due, are paid. However, the development of the Department’s forestry online services at www.agfood.ie has meant that there is an increasing amount paid earlier than the traditional forest premium payment run which is generally in April of each year. To date, Clare forestry owners have received almost €5 million in payments out of the €63 million payments made nationally.”
Senator Mulcahy added that forestry is an attractive land use option and said he was encouraged by the level of interest shown in the planting of forestry by landowners throughout County Clare.