Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM), Pippa Hackett, has announced the establishment of a new working group that will focus on exploring the potential for greater use of home-grown timber in the Irish construction sector. The group aims to bring together representative bodies, universities, industry experts, and professionals who are interested in participating in this initiative.
The working group will have several key objectives. Firstly, it will examine the conditions necessary to increase the use of timber in construction. This will involve assessing regulatory and standardisation challenges that currently hinder the greater use of timber in the sector. Additionally, the group will strive to maximise the use of home-grown timber, promoting sustainability and supporting local industries.
Minister Hackett emphasized the importance of collaboration with professionals who possess the knowledge and expertise required to work alongside relevant government departments and state agencies. She expressed her desire to explore how timber can be utilized more extensively in the Irish construction sector. The group will consist of a diverse range of industry experts and representatives from government departments and agencies, with an independent chair overseeing its activities.
The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) will provide the secretariat for the working group, and the appointment of a chair will follow the finalization of the group’s membership.
Minister Hackett highlighted the increasing use of timber as a reliable and sustainable material in the construction of large-scale buildings across Europe. The working group’s primary focus will be on increasing the use of timber in construction in Ireland. Minister Hackett stated that the group will assess the barriers currently impeding its widespread use and develop strategies to overcome them.
Minister for the Environment, Climate, Communications, and Transport Eamon Ryan confirmed that his department will also be involved in the new working group. He emphasized the need to thoroughly investigate the potential role of products such as cross-laminated timber as alternatives to resource-intensive materials like concrete and steel. Ryan stressed that increasing the availability of alternative construction materials is crucial for meeting climate targets while addressing the pressing needs of the construction industry.
The working group, known as “Timber in Construction,” will also include the Department of Housing, Local Government, and Heritage. Minister Darragh O’Brien acknowledged the importance of timber in modern construction methods, as it not only improves the delivery of new housing but also enhances the sustainability of materials used. O’Brien expressed his department’s active participation in the working group and looked forward to its outcomes, which will support housing initiatives and climate action targets.
In conclusion, the establishment of this working group signifies the Irish government’s commitment to exploring the potential of home-grown timber in the construction sector. By bringing together industry experts, government departments, and relevant agencies, the group aims to overcome regulatory and standardisation challenges and maximize the use of sustainable materials. This initiative aligns with Ireland’s climate targets and the need for alternative construction materials to meet the demands of the industry while ensuring a greener future.