Here is an issue that us Druidy types need to watch very closely.
It seems that there may be plans afoot for the Irish govt to sell off the national forestry estate. This tender Notice has set alarm bells ringing: http://www.etenders.gov.ie/search/show/ ... =JAN196415
There are plenty of issues here, but protecting a natural and cultural resource should be a priority. A visit to this web-site will be informative: http://www.woodlandleague.org/ Note the online petition.
State owned forestry land includes very many sacred and antiquarian sites, provides woodland amenities to people, and is a significant economic resource. Proper access to, and protection of these resources needs to be preserved.
Have a look at this site for an example of a location that needs proper stewardship: http://www.cavanburren.ie/
This is the sort of access and stewardship that needs to be preserved and enhanced: http://www.coillteoutdoors.ie/ Who knows how this may pan out if state lands are sold off?
Of course there are always two sides to the story (see here: http://www.independent.ie/opinion/lette ... 73798.html ). Private ownership of forests and woodlands is not necessarily a bad thing. Many foresters and woodland owners are passionate about the land and the environment, and state stewardship has not always been great.
The Forest Stewardship Council http://www.fsc.org/ sets benchmarks for proper holistic management of woodlands. These are worthy principles that should apply regardless of land ownership.
A personal feeling is that an appropriate community-based ownership / management model may work best. Done properly, this can allow for a fair economic and social benefit for all.
A watching brief must be maintained.