Coillte (Irish pronunciation: [ˈkəilʲtʲə], meaning "forests"/"woods") is a commercial forestry business in Ireland, owned by the state, and based in Newtownmountkennedy. Coillte manage approximately 7% of the country’s land, and operates three businesses - their core forestry business, a land solutions business, and a wood panel manufacturing business called 'Medite Smartply'.[2][3]

TypeStatutory Corporation
FoundedDecember 8, 1988; 32 years ago (1988-12-08)
OwnerMinister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Minister for Finance (on behalf of the Irish state)
Number of employees
862[1] (2016)
Divisions3 ('Forestry', 'Land Solutions','Medite Smartply')[2]
Coillte headquarters, Newtownmountkennedy


The company was incorporated in December 1988 and commenced trading in January 1989 when it took over the forestry activities previously carried out by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.[4] Shares are held by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine and Minister for Finance on behalf of the Irish Government.[5][4] During 2016, the organisation had an average of 862 employees.[6][1] The Coillte estate is 4,450 square kilometres of which 79% is forest; it manages over 50% of forested land in the country.[7]

In its 27 years of operation between 1989 and 2016, Coillte had:

  • Grown its forest and land estate from 396,000 hectares to over 440,000 hectares[2]
  • Increased operating profits from a loss of €0.4 million to operating profits of €64.9 million (2016)[6]
  • Grown turnover from €38.0 million to €287.7 million (2016)[6]
  • Increased log sales from 1.5 million cubic metres to 1.6 million cubic metres (2016)[6]

According to the Coillte website, 20% of its estate is managed with biodiversity as the primary objective.[8] Other entities have however questioned Coillte's commercially focused practices and the amount of land afforded to native species.[7]


In 2011, there was speculation that Coillte could be sold by the Government of Ireland as part of cost-cutting measures.[9][10][11] As of 2011, Coillte was also seeking to calculate the aggregate economic value of its 445,000ha of forest estate.[12]

In 2018 the organisation was reportedly criticised for payment and communication issues with some landowners.[13]


  1. ^ a b "Staff Numbers and Gender Balance" (PDF). Coillte. 31 December 2016.
  2. ^ a b c "About Us - Our Story". Coillte. Retrieved 6 July 2017. Coillte are [..] custodians of 7% of Ireland’s land [..and..] have three high potential businesses: Forestry, Land Solutions and Medite Smartply
  3. ^ "Coillte announces new 'BioClass' system to protect biodiversity in Irish forests". Independent News & Media. 26 September 2018. Retrieved 25 October 2018. Coillte manages approximately 7pc of the country’s land and 47pc of Ireland’s forests
  4. ^ a b "Corporate - About Us". Coillte. Retrieved 8 July 2017.
  5. ^ "Records for company number 138108 (Coillte Cuideachta Ghníomhaíochta Ainmnithe)". Companies Registration Office. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
  6. ^ a b c d "Coillte Annual Report & Accounts 2016" (PDF). Coillte. 2016. Retrieved 8 July 2017.
  7. ^ a b "Native trees cover just 2% of Ireland. How can this be increased?". Irish Times. 6 July 2018. Retrieved 25 October 2018. More than half of Ireland’s forest cover (and 7 per cent of land in the State) is owned by Coillte, deft exponents of the dark arts of clear-felling, a practice illegal in Denmark, Switzerland, Slovenia and parts of Germany for its devastating effects on plants, animals, soil and landscapes alike [..] Crann and the Woodland League want Coillte to carry out more diverse planting and continuous coverage forestry, the norm on the European mainland. Coillte has earmarked just 5 per cent of its 445,000 hectares of land for it
  8. ^ "Coillte - Forest Biodiversity". Coillte. Retrieved 10 July 2017.
  9. ^ "Bertie Ahern trip to China for forestry fund". Sunday Tribune. Archived from the original on 16 January 2011. Retrieved 14 Jan 2011.
  10. ^ "Semi-State firms to be assessed". The Irish Times. 7 July 2010. Retrieved 14 Jan 2011.
  11. ^ "Talks will be a charade if old delusions remain". Irish Independent. 14 March 2010. Retrieved 14 Jan 2011.
  12. ^ "Evaluation of the Public Goods Value on he Coillte Forest Estate". eTenders. Archived from the original on 23 February 2011. Retrieved 9 February 2011.
  13. ^ "Coillte criticised as landowners left without payments". RTÉ. 1 February 2018. Retrieved 25 October 2018.

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