Video: Gilliland’s willow chips can be a model for climate action across Ireland

Derry farmer John Gilliland’s pioneering production of woodchips as an environmentally-friendly form of fuel has been cited as a model for rural Ireland.

Professor John Fitzgerald, a member of the Irish Climate Change Advisory Council, said: “I have twice visited the farm in Derry of Mr. John Gilliland, former president of the Ulster Farmers Union (UFU).

John Gilliland.

John Gilliland.

“He switched from growing grain to growing pollard willow. He actually made money out of the latter and was selling his woodchips to the Bogside community centre. Biomass used in heating, probably in rural areas or hotels and so on, may well be the way to go.”

Prof. Fitzgerald made the comments during a briefing of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Climate Action saying Ireland had a “moral imperative to play its part in helping to address the problem of climate change”.

“As a result, we have set ourselves a binding target to decarbonise Irish society by 2050, with key milestones along the way. Failure to reach these milestones will have multiple adverse consequences,” he said.