McEntee welcomes the 2013 Budget Provision for Forestry, Horticulture and Greyhound Sectors
Shane McEntee TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with responsibility for the forestry, horticulture and greyhound sectors has today welcomed the allocation of almost €116 million for the 2013 forestry programme, €11 million for Bord na gCon and €3.5 million for the Commercial Horticulture sector.
Welcoming the unchanged allocation for the forestry programme for 2013, the Minister of State commented, "The allocation of €116 million for the forestry programme, which encompasses afforestation grants, premium payments and support schemes such as the Forest Roads Scheme, is tangible proof of the Government’s confidence in forestry and the ability of the sector to contribute to the recovery of the economy". He added that "it is also recognition of the ongoing efforts of people involved in the forest sector, including forest owners, producer groups, timber processors and exporters, to sustain employment, develop products and grow markets for wood and wood products. The most recent annual figures for the sector show the value of output for Wood and Wood Products at €675m, Gross Value Added at more than €180m and employment supported by the forestry sector overall being estimated by a recent study at around 5,500." Minister of State McEntee noted that the allocation would allow the premium rates to be maintained provide and the payment for approximately 7,000 hectares of new planting which, on the basis of the planting figures in recent years, should accommodate current demand. In addition, there is continuation of funding for major programmes such as forest roads and thinning.
Bord na gCon
Minister of State McEntee welcomed the allocation of €55.02 million for the Horse and Greyhound Racing Fund in 2013. The Minister said "I am delighted that in the midst of the most difficult economic circumstances, support for the greyhound racing industry remains almost unchanged at €11 million in 2013. It is important that we realise Greyhound racing is an industry as well as a sport, one that Bord na gCon estimate supports in excess of 10,000 jobs and creates more than €500 million in economic output. Greyhound racing is part of the social fabric of our country. The combination of great greyhounds and the improvements undertaken at greyhound stadia throughout the country have resulted in venues where the highest quality sporting events take place on a weekly basis".
Minister of State McEntee said he was very pleased that support for specialised capital investments had been maintained with €3.25 million allocated to the Scheme of Investment Aid for the Development of the Commercial Horticulture Sector for 2013. This Scheme represents the main source of State funding for horticultural producers and is seen as vital to improving growers’ competitiveness and the quality of output as well as allowing growers innovate and diversify production in a sector where output per annum is in the region of €300m, with a Gross Value Added of €70m. Given the uptake and quality of projects funded in 2012, he said he was confident there would be strong demand for the Scheme again in 2013 and that he intended to launch the 2013 Scheme very shortly.