Thursday, 2 December 2010

Privitising Coillte?

This is fascinating and I would like to forward it to some friends in the forestry sector. But who has put it together? I think that it should have an author/originator/contact at the bottom of the piece. I know that it has been forwarded by IOG – whose name should also appear on email too. Generally I don’t forward anonymous authored material.


Stan McWilliams

Report by fisnua

Bertie Ahern in corporate takeover of Ireland’s Woodlands
Reclaim our natural Resources
Time for a new Land League

This is a short briefing to the ongoing privatisation of Coillte. It needs to be considered along with the takeover of our other resources, including but not limited to oil and gas, water, minerals, fish, seeds and various utilities. I have done as much research into it as I am able for the next few days. I hope others will be able to take up the baton and go deeper with a view to developing strategies to counter this.

Please pass this on in your networks.

The situation
According to information received from the Woodland League, from a trawl of as well as from private conversations over the last few weeks, a company by the name of International Forestry Fund 2010, in a joint venture with Helvetia Wealth AG of Switzerland and IFS asset managers Ltd have put in a bid to purchase Coillte the Irish forestry body that currently holds a land area in this country approaching 1.5million acres.

For further research and sources - restoring the relationship between people and their native woodlands.

Big respect to them for all the work they have done on this topic - A British Virgin Islands registered company established in March 2009 as a joint venture between IFS asset managers Ltd of Ireland and Helvetia Wealth AG of Switzerland. () In Jan 2010 one Bertie Ahern was appointed chair of IFF

Dublin address; 43 Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin 2

IFS assets;

Helvetia Wealth AG;

I have not seen direct proof of this bid but anyone who knows anything of the giveaway of our oil and gas resources during Bertie’s tenure will not need this spelled out to them.

It should be noted that when Bertie was minister of Finance in 1993 with 99 shares in Coillte he oversaw the establishment of Irish Forest Unit Trusts, a pension scheme set up jointly with Allied Irish Banks and Irish Life. Minimum investment in this fund was e100’000 and it was set up using £33million worth of state land. A community in South Galway were recently shocked to discover their local woodland of Chevy Chase being clear felled as part of this enterprise.

Attention should also be paid to the recommendations of the McCarthy Report last year that Coillte should be privatised.

“Consistent with the reduction in available Exchequer resources, the Group puts forward a range of
reductions in administrative costs and increased flexibility and recommends that D/AF&F should
conduct a review with a view to reducing administrative costs. In particular, we see significant
scope for the outsourcing of payment processing activities.
In addition, the Group has suggested exploring the following avenues which could provide once off
receipts for the Exchequer:
• dispose of non-essential land/property holdings owned by the State Agencies;
• sell surplus Teagasc assets; and
• review the operations of Coillte with a view to realising optimal return through
rationalisation, asset disposal and, possibly, privatisation.”

Coillte has form when it comes to disposing of this country’s forest assets.


If Coillte falls into private hands we will have even less control over a large chunk (an area approximately equivalent to 2 county Meaths) of this country’s land mass than we do already. The lofty sounding vision statement of IFF notwithstanding we may see the planting of GM trees, we may lose access to this land for walking, camping, firewood collection, fishing, water supply and other purposes.

This has huge implications for our access to water. If we lose access to that land we also lose access to a large part of our water catchment, purification and supply system which leaves us in a very vulnerable position.

The arrival of the IMF to these shores means that the stripping of this country’s assets and resources is being accelerated. We need these resources to continue living here. We also have a duty of care towards them and towards future generations that will have need of them.


People need to know about this. Please forward this info. Leaflets?

The scale of the problem demands a collective response.

The effective husbanding of resources is best left in the hands of those who use them and live locally.

This becomes a survival issue if factors like climate change and fossil fuel depletion come into play.

In the event of transport and supply interruptions we will be dependent on these local resources so we have a huge vested interest in ensuring our continued access to them.

If they are in the possession of vast corporations who are making us pay for what we have a right to, we have a problem. This threat needs to be removed.

Communities and individuals need to begin assessing the resources in their areas, examine their levels of dependence on them and be vigilant for any threats to them. This could be a key step in reversing the process of dispossession that history has wrought on us.

Time for a new Land League

Update from the Tribune

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