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Hills of Donegal ‘for sale’

BY CRONAN SCANLON
A WELL-KNOWN local forester has severely criticised Coillte for its plans to sell off a major plantation outside Ballybofey for more than €4.5 million.

Mr John Jackson was speaking yesterday morning (Thursday) ahead of the State company’s planned sale next week of the freehold 1,100 acre forest at Altnapaste, between Ballybofey and Glenfin.

Mr Jackson said the decision flies in the face of promises made this year to him and to media outlets that Coillte would not sell-off any State owned land.

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“I was informed publicly in Donegal in July of this year by both our Taoiseach Enda Kenny and the Minister of Agriculture, Simon Coveney, that State forestry Land would not be sold.

“So, why has the State now put 1,100 acres of forestry land up for sale by tender next week near Ballybofey?” Mr Jackson said.

In February, Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin said “consideration will be given” to selling some of the assets of the forestry body.

However, he ruled out the sale of Coillte’s land, which amounts to about seven per cent of the land cover of Ireland.

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