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Seamus Dunne, Forestry  Inspectorate
Farming, Horticulture & Forestry

Seamus Dunne, Forestry Inspectorate

Seamus Dunne is responsible for managing the Forestry Inspectorate in the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine.

Ask me your
first question!

What were the main 'career decision' milestones in your life so far?

The main career decision was to leave Coillte having spent a short few years very happily working on research contracts to take up a District Inspector job in the Forest Service.

How did you go about getting your current job?

Job was advertised I applied and got it.

Describe a typical day?

Yesterday wasn't a typical day but it was an interesting day and so instead of making amendments to my annual Business plan I got out in the field. We carry out a lot of training for private foresters so yesterday I assisted our ecologist in carrying out a training day on classifying land into different fertility categories depending on the species of plants present. The species have to be identified and then scored. For example if its heather it has a low score while if it's soft rush it has a higher score.

What are the main tasks and responsibilities?

I am responsible for managing the Forestry Inspectorate in the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine. Together we focus a lot of our energies looking after private family forests in terms of providing grant aid for those wishing to plant forests, put roads in to forests or develop amenity schemes in Woodlands. We also carry out a National Forest Inventory every 5 years and work on preventing exotic insects and diseases from entering the country. We do lots of other policy and EU stuff also.

What are the main challenges?

The two biggest challenges I face are firstly to try and increase the annual rate of forest planting and secondly to ensure that the forests that have been planted over the years by farmers are properly managed to ensure sawmills get the raw material they need.

What's cool?

Itís cool to have an influence on national forest policy and develop and encourage schemes like the NeighbourWood scheme that aims to get more people out walking in forests.

What's not so cool?

The end of year reviews and business planning for the year ahead are very necessary, very useful but a bit of a pain in the neck.

What particular skills do you bring to your workplace?

Thatís a tricky one, Iím not sure. Iím really lucky to be surrounded by highly motivated people who are clear about their work. I try and give them whatever resources, encouragement and direction I can to ensure they continue to deliver in their roles.

What subjects did you take in school and how have these influenced your career path?

Subject choice really does matter. I took Applied Maths, Physics and Chemistry for the Leaving Cert and having not studied Biology I found that hard in first year in college.

What is your education to date?

  • B Agr Sc (Forestry) 1991
  • M Agr Sc (Forestry) 1994
  • Diploma EIA Management 1998

What aspects of your education have proven most important for your job?

Basic primary degree in forestry in UCD was good and broad and a good deal of practical stuff thrown in.

What have been the most rewarding events in your career so far?

Seeing the volume of timber being harvested from the private sector grow annually is very rewarding as it shows the return we are getting from our investment in afforestation.

What personal qualities do you have that helps you in your career?

I think I am a good communicator, calm under pressure and I like to plan ahead. These qualities are important in my job.

What is your dream job?

Dublin senior hurling manager.

Does your job allow you to have a lifestyle you are happy with?


What advice would you give to someone considering this job?

Working in the Forest Service can be great fun. Most of the roles in the Forest Service involve a nice mix of office and field work and I would advise anyone considering this work to seek as much practical forestry experience as possible in Forestry before joining the Forest Service.

What are the three most important personal characteristics required for the job?

  • Confident
  • Polite
  • Knowledgeable

Have you undertaken, or do you plan to undertake any further training as part of your job?

Yes, Iíve done a number of project management and staff management courses over the years and plan to do a change management course later this year.

What kinds of work experience would provide a good background for this position?

Any practical forestry experience is good as is any experience in GIS and work on forest management plans. The more varied the work experience the better.

What is your current job title?

Forestry Inspector

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