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Last Thursday evening, almost 300 forest owners from Wexford, Kilkenny and Laois gathered in Woodstock Estate, Inistioge for the launch of the amalgamated Irish Wood Producers.  Many new acquaintances were made and ideas exchanged under the shadow of the mighty specimen and champion trees of Woodstock Gardens.  The marquee couldn’t contain the numbers attending the hog roast, which overflowed into a picnic on the lawns on the sunny July evening.


Information stands were provided by Teagasc, Waterford Institute of Technology, the GIFT project (Green Innovation and Future Technologies), Doyle Harvesting, Kilkenny Leader Partnership, Wexford Local Development and Irish Wood Producers.  Outside, gazebos were brimful of forest machinery and equipment from Tom Tennyson of Piltown, Kilkenny and Darragh O’Dwyer of Hebron Industrial Estate, Kilkenny.


Burke Corbett, Chairman of the Irish Wood Producers welcomed everyone and spoke of the regional collaboration, the members’ events, training and commercial activities to date with 4,765 tonnes of timber harvested and clustered forest activities continuing across the region. The collaboration encompasses almost 400 members and focuses on working directly with and in the best interest of the primary producer.


Burke acknowledged agency support in the development of the producer group and made presentations to Michael Somers, Teagasc; Declan Rice, Kilkenny Leader Partnership; Anne Goodwin, Laois Community Partnership and Seamus Doran, Wexford Local Development.  The Vulcan project, an initiative of the Danone Ecosystems Fund was the stimulus to bring the groups together and Garry O’Neill of Danone, Wexford was also acknowledged by the Chairman.


Michael Fleming, Chairman of the IFA Farm Forestry Committee then spoke of the potential of forest owners working together, the development of the private forestry sector and opportunities for future initiatives and collaborations.


John Delaney of Woodstock Estate then led a large group around the gardens taking in the walled garden, yew walk, rose garden, giant sequoias and monkey puzzle avenue.  Nicholas Sweetman thanked John Delaney and Claire Goodwin of Kilkenny County Council for facilitating the event in such majestic surroundings.


The group is grateful to all who made the effort to travel from all around the region to the launch, and especially Michael Fleming from Kerry and Nuala Ni Fhlatharta from Galway.


The company office is based at the Rising Tide Centre, 35 South Street, New Ross, Co. Wexford and the contacts for each county are: Wexford – Alex Kelly –, (086) 1070631, Kilkenny – Mike Hogan –, (087) 1878904; Laois – Eoin Phelan –, (085) 1100785.  Updates on events can also be found on: and


(Photo: Will Gabbett (Director), Martin Rafter (Kilkenny Leader Partnership), Burke Corbett (Chairman), Garry O’Neill (Danone), Seamus Doran (Wexford Local Development), Declan Rice (Kilkenny Leader Partnership), Nicholas Sweetman (Director), Liam O’Byrne (Director), Gemma Sherman (Director), Pip Breen (Director), Michael Fleming (Chairman of the IFA Farm Forestry Committee), Andy Dunne, (Director)