uarter-Of -A-Million To Be Spent On Preserving The Forests
By THE EARL OF WICKLOW An estimate of £265,000 has been passed in the Dail for forestry for the coming year.
There is, no doubt, much to be done. During the war years the previous Government, through no fault of its own, was gravely handicapped in this matter owing to the lack of rabbit-wire and young trees, Mr. Blowick (Clan no Tolman —Farmers' Party), the Minister for Lands, moving the estimate, assured the House that rabbit-netting was once more available, and that it is hoped to plant a minimum of 6.000 acres in 1948-1949.
On the whole we may congratulate all Irish Governments on their forestry achievements since the establishment of the Free State in 1922.
Previous to that there was no adequate control of timber-felling, and there was an alarming amount of vandalism—an example of this was the denuding of Bray Head during the first world war.* Having achieved our independence we have had a strict eye to our timber, which as a national asset is the easiest to destroy and the slowest to replace; legislation was passed in the Dail making it a punishable offence to cut timber without an official permit, which permission is almost invariably coupled with an obligation to replant.
A forestry expert has informed me that the present legislation has too many loopholes, and that a more drastic Bill is on the way.
A difficulty in the way of the
Department of Forestry is that there is still an unsatiated land-hunger in this country. and there is usually a considerable amount of local indignation when any land which could be considered arable comes under forestry plantation.
It is important that everything possible should be done to show the country people that priests are an essential national asset.
IRISH NAMES IN HONOURS LIST
It is gratifying to see several Irish names in the present Birthday Honours lists. The recent list contains Walter Starkie, Elizabeth Bowen, Henry Phillips (manager of the Carl Rosa Opera Company) and Air-Commodore Frank Whittle, who recently received £100,000 free of tax for his jet engine inventions.
Dr. Starkie, who is now in charge of the British Council of Spain and was formerly professor of Spanish in Trinity College, Dublin, is a Catholic, and he has 'already received honours from the Governments of Italy and France.
His appointment in Spain was a stroke of genius as he is as well known in that country as in Ireland, where he is an immensely popular figure. He is also well known all over the world for his books on the Spanish gypsies.
"THE ICEMAN COMETH "
For some months past Dublin was promised the European premiere of Eugene O'Neill's latest play, The Iceman Cometh; in fact, 1 understand two other capitals have already experienced this strangely sordid entertairunent.
I cannot adopt a priggish tone and say that what appealed to America was disapproved of in Dublin, because crowded houses applauded continuously throughout the four-and-a-half hours of each performance.
I acknowledge O'Neill's great power as a dramatist, but the dreary coarseness and philosophical futility of this misuse of his talents should not have been acclaimed enthusiastically by an Irish audience.