HC Deb 13 July 1909 vol 7 cc1855-6

asked the Vice-President of the Department of Agriculture (Ireland) if he will say whether any steps have yet been taken by the Department to carry out the recommendations of the Departmental Committee on Forestry in Ireland; if he is aware that paragraph 3 of Part I. of that Report states that an exceptional opportunity, which cannot recur, for acquiring land suitable for forestry purposes in Ireland now presents itself in connection with the Land Purchase Acts; and whether he has taken any action towards acquiring the proceeds of the Irish quit and Crown rents, which the Committee declared would be sufficient to finance a national system of forestry if reinforced by a moderate Treasury grant?


The Department are fully alive to the extreme urgency of the question of preventing the wasteful destruction which, under existing circumstances, is now going on in regard to Irish woodlands, and of thus saving for the country what should be a valuable national asset. The Department have already acquired certain large woods which would otherwise have been cut down. As a result of the Report of the Departmental Committee on Irish Forestry, which was duly submitted by the Department to the Government, the Treasury have provided in the Parliamentary Vote for the current year a sum of £6,000 to enable the Department to purchase by means of annuities under the Land Purchase Acts, suitable areas of woodlands and lands adapted for forestry, comprised in estates in Ireland which are being sold under those Acts. The Department are at present in negotiation with the Estates Commissioners with a view to the purchase of portions of certain estates. All such purchases will be carried out through the Estates Commissioners only. The Department are not in a position to make any statement in regard to the quit and Crown rents, as the general question of reafforestation is still under the consideration of the Government.


Has the right hon. and learned Gentleman any knowledge of whether the Vice-President has yet approached the Treasury for the purpose of getting hold of this peculiarly Irish fund for an Irish purpose?


I am quite sure that my right hon. Friend has approached the Treasury many times on this matter.