Seamus Kinlan and Andrew Doyle, Minister of State for Food, Forestry & Horticulture. Photo: Chris Bellew /Fennell Photography
Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine, Andrew Doyle T.D. has urged people to buy a real Irish Christmas tree this year, as he visited Wicklow Way Christmas Tree Farm run by the Kinlan family.
Around 650,000 Irish Christmas trees are harvested each year with 450,000 sold at home and about 200,000 exported abroad, mainly to the UK, France and Germany. The industry contributes €25 million to the Irish economy.
With 7-10 years of work going into producing a good quality Christmas tree, the Minister outlined “the quality of Christmas trees produced in Ireland has increased significantly in recent years. This improvement is due to increased expertise being employed to manage and prepare trees for more discerning customers. The improvement has also been facilitated by my Department’s Scheme of Investment Aid for the Development of the Commercial Horticulture Sector and I encourage Christmas tree growers to consider applying for the 2020 Scheme”.
The Scheme assists growers who wish to make capital investments in specialised equipment to manage and harvest the crop. Popular investments under the Scheme include specialised tree pruners, tree netters and palletisers which protect quality and allow for efficient transport. The Scheme is now open and details of the scheme can be found here or from Horticulture and Plant Health Division, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Administration Building, Backweston Campus, Young’s Cross, Celbridge, Co. Kildare, W23 X3PH Tel: 01 5058886.
The closing date for receipt of applications for the 2020 scheme is 17 January 2020.
The Minster concluded by saying “A real tree provides a better Christmas experience in the home, is more environmentally friendly, has a lower carbon footprint than an artificial tree and people who buy an Irish tree are supporting jobs in rural Ireland. A real tree is the natural choice.”