SAVE LEITRIM was founded by a group of like minded people who have raised concerns about the detrimental impact Sitka Spruce afforestation is having on the social and economic fabric of rural communities and the environment of County Leitrim.
50% of County Leitrim's agricultural land is planted in non native, invasive species.
14,000 Hectares (that’s 34,595 acres) of Leitrim land is under forestry and it is increasing everyday. That’s 34.5 MILLION SITKA SPRUCE TREES!
We inherited this county in a pristine condition from our forefathers, who had survived famine and war and raised their families here. Now we are worried about what kind of a county we are handing on to our children and future generations.
As a group, we have a voice but we will only be heard at national or EU level when the people of the townlands, villages and towns of County Leitrim join us and shout STOP.
The local people are seeing first hand the decimation of our communities with a massive increase in afforestation by private forestry companies, vulture funds, tax off setters, pension funds and multinational companies across County Leitrim continues unabated. ALL TAX FREE! At the expense of the Irish Tax Payer. This is not EU money. This is Irish tax payer money.
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 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!
Broadleaf trees have far higher preimums 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 more growing in every hedgerow in our county.
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. In any society this would be seen as unjust but in Ireland these forestry companies are subsidised to clear this county of it's people. This state failed for decades to plant County Leitrim but now they have unleashed the vultures and speculators on the most vulnerable people in this country, the small farmers of County Leitrim. Forestry companies make no commitment or contribution to the well being of our rural communities, on the contrary, they take the money out of our communities and create a wilderness which impacts on the mental well being of those left behind.
This afforestation and the planting of Sitka Spruce is destroying our environment and the eco systems in our rivers and lakes. The 2008 study undertaken by Queen's University Belfast identified the high levels of phosphorous in Lough Melvin, caused by afforestation, which threatens the very existence of the unique species of fish only found in this lake. We have been speaking to many Universities who have provided research on the hugely negative effects of Sitka Spruce forestry on our eco system, biodiversity and human health. The Curlew and Hen Harrier which were once plentiful throughout this county are now endangered species as a result of Sitka Spruce being granted plating permission on protected habitats. The use of phosphorus and nitrogen through aerial fertilisation and toxic chemicals, like Cypermethrin, being such as sprayed on trees and landscape to kill pine weevil is also killing many other organisms, animals and insects including the bees nd finding it’s way into our waterways. Many other types of flora and fauna are also being decimated by the afforestation of County Leitrim.
The people of Leitrim are shouting STOP! They have been doing so for over 40 years. Our county is disappearing fast beneath a 60ft wall of green. We want the governemt to stop and assess this whole situation. LISTEN TO US!
We want a future for broadleaf trees, tourism, our environment, our biodiveristy, our landscape, our farmers, our communities, our county, our future.
We live here! But we won't be here forever. We will leave this land and all that goes with it, to the next generation. The fight for the survival of Leitrim's future has just begun and the only agenda we have is to SAVE LEITRIM.
(Remember this is happening in several counties across Ireland. We're just feeling the effects far quicker than others because of the size of our county. Stop it now before it's too late for rural Ireland.)
Your support would be greatly appreciated!
- Kieran Kelleher
- John O Halloran
- Michelle Early
- Dermot Mcdermott