What happened to the trees we were promised?
Bertie’s 4 million euro Millennium project derided as ‘farce’ as Coillte admits that only one in 10 will survive.
By Neil Michael, Ireland on Sunday, 23/08/2009.
WHEN it was launched in a blaze of publicity in 1999 by then taoiseach Bertie Ahern, the People’s Millennium Forests project seemed like a brilliant, even inspired idea. Indeed, it seemed there were few better ways for forestry body Coillte to boost its profile and eco-friendly credentials.
Costing just over €4m, the project’s aims were to ‘rescue and restore’ 16 woodlands in which 1.2 million trees would be planted with every household in the country receiving a certificate of ownership of each tree.
Anyone with that certificate was – at the time – encouraged to come and visit ‘their’ tree. It was a process that was supposed to have been aided with the simple use of specific markers and grid references. Last night, however, an audit into the project by the management committee set up to run it has noted that just 10pc of the trees planted will survive.