The investigation into Coillte continues today, originally reported by us here , with a member of the public coming forward to share his troubles.
The man, who wished to remain anonymous, has experienced hardship when dealing with Coillte. He currently has just over 32 hectares of land which is planted by the company as part of Scheme one offered. This scheme sees the man receive an annual payment though, he claims he was misled in relation to the price of timber.
“We may have been misled. There was very little information given to us at the time about how much timber was worth per acre” he said.
“Now, people are looking and seeing how much timber is worth and what we got wouldn’t be what is available” he added.
Lack of Information:
This is the main issue facing the family, who say that in hindsight there was a serious lack of information provided. He says, according to experts who evaluated his lands, that it would appear that they are only receiving 50% of the value of timber back.
“I tend to have a slightly different deal...My contract is on the basis that I get an annual fee. I was getting premium for the first 20 years and a small top up on top of that. Since year twenty I have been getting a “life plan payment”.
“This would have been calculated back in year one, based on the value of timber back then. But it was never advised” he said.
“It doesn’t seem to have taken account the value of timber today” he added.
The man says he has not contacted Coillte directly on the incident, but it was through a neighbour he found out about it.
“I hadn’t known how much we were off the radar with regards the money or figured out the value of timber today compared to what was projected twenty years ago,” he said.
“I have been getting an annual payment from it, including premiums. But looking back it was probably the premiums that were keeping it fairly strong payment wise” he said.
“Your kind of looking now and saying that is a drop from what we are getting now...The concern is only hitting home now” he added.
“What is really coming home to roost, is that we weren’t advised or aware of how it was going to pan out” he stressed.
“I’m getting about half the value of what the timber would be at year 40...the value would be 50%. That is where the concern is coming from, we weren’t advised well and didn’t see the value maybe Coillte saw at the same time”, he said.
Wouldn't have entered Partnership:
The man says if he had known what he knows now that he would not have entered the farm partnership at all.
“They didn’t have the transparency they should have,” he said.
Unlike the other affected party, this man’s lands were well fenced, with Coillte holding up their maintenance duties. They have fenced and thinned it out, as expected.
“The problem is that, it seems to be going all their way...If there’s something to be negotiated and everyone can get a deal or better sharing of values of the clear fell, we would be happier” he said.
“It looks as though we were ill-advised. Even until today I could not tell what the value of timber was” he said.
“We never saw what the value of the crop was and we had no opportunity to compare it to the revenue we got”
The man says he was recently informed of the real price of timber, which is valued anywhere between €25,000 and €38,000 net per hectare for clearfell. This greatly compares to the value advised to him by Coillte, which was £6,090 per hectare. This represents a huge difference and when calculated means the man is making €10,139 per year, rather than the €21,526 he should be receiving.
The anonymous party submitted copies to us of the farm partnership agreement, as well as an independent valuation of estimated future earnings from timber sales and the original copy of a handwritten agreement made with Coillte, which can be viewed below.
Independent estimation of future earnings.