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Sale of public forest on Dublin-Wicklow border abandoned following public outcry

The sale of a public forest on the Dublin-Wicklow border has been abandoned after a public campaign.

The 39 acre forest is of great archaeological importance and even boasts bronze age cooking pits.

Killegar Wood in Enniskerry was on the market for just €250,000, sparking fury amongst politicians and locals alike.

Dublin TD, Richard Boyd Barrett announced today that Coillte have halted the sale of forest.

The People Before Profit member had previously raised the issue in the Dáil and brought the advertisement to the attention of the Taoiseach.

He said: “”I got a call this morning from Coillte, informing me that they have decided against the sale of Killegar Wood.

“The Coillte representative informed me that the sale was at an advanced stage and that it was down to the work that we have been doing, raising it in the Dáil, the Council, writing to Coillte and submitting PQs, that made them decide to cancel the sale of this wood.

“I was heartened at the public outcry at this proposed sale when I raised it in the Dáil and subsequently on social media. Once again people power wins out.

“Coillte also admitted to me that they had decided to sell it because the lack of access to the forest made it commercially unviable.

“We must now call on Coillte and the relevant Ministers to scrap this overfocus on narrow commercial concerns on profitability and take its remit as custodian of our forests more seriously.

“This wood should now be developed as a community woodland with a focus on biodiversity.”

At last night’s monthly meeting of Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, People Before Profit councillor Melisa Halpin proposed a motion to call on Coillte and Ministers to halt the sale.

The motion received unanimous support.

The fellow People Before Profit member expressed her relief after getting the full support of the council.

She said: ““We were delighted to get the full support of Dún Laoghaire Rathdown councillors to keep this forest in public ownership.

“This wood is just on the border of DLR and Wicklow and is much used by locals of both counties and further afield, it would have been a total outrage if this public amenity had been sold off.

“Considering the role woodlands and forests can play in climate and biodiversity action and the fact that our forest cover in Ireland is hopelessly inadequate at 7%, the idea of selling a public forest just because it is not commercially viable is nonsensical.”

Mr Barrett had previously spoken to Dublin Live about the cheap asking price for the historic site.

He said: “”Our state forestry company is selling off part of our precious forest estate, which has significant archaeological value, for crumbs.

“It is more than concerning that this sale seems to have been prompted by someone approaching Coillte. Since when is it the job of Coillte to facilitate people who want to buy public forestry.

“There is a right of way going through this forest. It is a public amenity forest. There are Bronze Age cooking pits in this forest. It is of extreme geological significance and Coillte are flogging it off.”

“He added: “That is absolutely shocking. €250,000 for 39 acres of forest, that stinks apart from anything else…that is utterly unacceptable.”

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