THE government is preparing to row back on plans to raise €800m by selling the harvesting rights to Coillte’s forests for 80 years.
A number of senior government sources said Brendan Howlin, the public expenditure minister, would “find enough barriers” to the sale to ensure it could not go ahead.
“There’s huge opposition to it, from TDs and from the general public,” said one source close to Howlin. “It won’t be confirmed publicly for a while, but the intention is not to go ahead with the sale.”
In recent weeks, a number of government TDs have made speeches in the Dail or tabled parliamentary questions opposing the sale of Coillte. Among them are Emmet Stagg, the Labour chief whip, and Fine Gael TDs Andrew Doyle, Joe McHugh, Terence Flanagan and Billy Timmins.