The Save Leitrim action group, which is a group of concerned locals who are campaigning against the continued Sitka Spruce afforestation in the county, are set to continue their efforts with an upcoming rally at the Dáil.
The move comes after recent protests held by the organisation against planting on lands in Carrigallen, as first reported here. https://www.thatsfarming.com/news/save-leitrim-ifa-protest. The protest took place on November 17th and the team behind the display have revealed that they are going one step further this time around, with a rally at the Dáil itself.
Currently, there is approximately 50% of agricultural lands in Leitrim county planted, with “non-native, invasive species” according to Save Leitrim. This means that a total of 14,000 hectares of land in Leitrim is under forestry, amounting to approximately 34.5 million trees in total!
“We are most definitely not against trees! We are for the right trees, in the right places being managed in the right way so that everyone benefits!” the group said.
“The environment, the wildlife, the communities, the farmers, the economy, the county and the future. Right now, what’s happening, and has been happening for more than 40 years, is wrong. It’s all about the money rather than being about what’s right and best!” they continued.
Save Leitrim members say the continued planting means that farmers can no longer expand their operations or even enter the industry.
“Farmers can no longer afford to expand their holdings and our young farmers wishing to buy land cannot compete with the forestry companies and vulture funds.” They said.
The group are calling for any trees that are planted to be broadleaved, which they say are best suited to the county.
“Broadleaf trees have far higher premiums for landowners, but the department won't sanction them for our land saying they will not grow. Yet we see beech, chestnut, oak, ash, sycamore and many more growing in every hedgerow in our county.” They said.
The Dáil rally will be held on January 30th, kicking off at 11am sharp on the day. All those looking to attend are more than welcome, though must book their seats on the bus. The bus will be passing through Manorhamilton, Kilargue, Drumkeeran, Drumshanbo, Leitrim Village, Carrick on Shannon, Annaduff and Dromod on its way to the Dáil and these locations will serve as pick-up points.
To book your place on the bus you can contact 086-1649989 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
“Please come out and show your support. Protect your county and your country!” urged organisers.