Based in Littleton, Co. Tipperary, MF Tree Services Ltd provides full arboriculture and forestry services that are fully compliant with EU regulations. The family-run business carries out private and commercial works for clients nationwide.
While the company was only formed in 2013, its owner Michael Fahey has almost 50 years’ experience in the industry. “This is my 48th year cutting timber. I know the business inside out at this stage,” he reveals.
Michael and his wife Olive, who is also a company director, offer exceptional thinning, clearfelling and tree surgery services. Committed to delivering a top-class service, value-for-money and complete customer satisfaction, they have a wide range of machinery to carry out work quickly and efficiently. The company’s success can be attributed to the knowledge, skill and experience of its team as well as the quality of its machinery.
“We sub-contract work to the same tried and trusted drivers / machine operators and transport companies. We have between 15 and 17 people working for us on a sub-contract basis. The transport companies we use include Macroom Haulage, Brosnan Transport and Noel Lanigan Haulage,” Michael explains.
MF Tree Services harvests timber on behalf of sawmills such as GP Wood, Coolraine Sawmills, Laois Sawmills and Glennon Brothers as well as private customers, farmers, local authorities, builders and developers. GP Wood in Enniskeane, Co. Cork is one of Ireland’s largest suppliers of sawn softwood products and is also MF Tree Services’ main customer.
“We have a large base of clients who use our services time and time again. We work in forests which are both privately-owned and Coillte-owned. We work for all the leading sawmills and for a number of County Councils. While most of our activity is concentrated in Tipperary, Cork, Limerick and Clare, we’ll go wherever the work is. We even went to Dublin last year to cut timber on the site of the new Pelletstown train station which is being constructed by Sisk for Iarnrod Eireann.
“We also buy timber privately and are always looking for timber. Another string to our bow is tree surgery. To this end, we provide a full range of services, including felling, pruning, removal and stump grinding.”
Michael continues: “We place a major emphasis on Health & Safety, and are proud of our impeccable safety record. Our drivers / machine operators are fully trained and have a wealth of experience in the sector.”
The company runs an impressive fleet of John Deere, Komatsu and Valmet harvesters and forwarders along with three New Holland tractors (7050, TM120 and TC40), a Valtra 115 tractor and a JCB 140 excavator.
“We have one John Deere harvester, one Komatsu harvester and five forwarders which are a mix of Komatsu, Valmet and John Deere (Timberjack),” the affable managing director explains.
“The JCB digger has a harvest head and shears attached, while the Valtra tractor has a crane and wood chipper for large timber. We also have electro hydraulic winches that attach to the other tractors, a Botex forwarding trailer, a Dooley low loader and a Mitsubishi Fuso Canter light truck for wood-chipping and private house work. In addition, we have an array of specialist equipment for the tree surgery side of the business, including hoists and smaller wood chippers.”
All machines are maintained and upgraded on a regular basis to avoid downtime. “With time being money for the customer, we cannot afford to suffer any breakdowns. We keep our machinery fresh and use mobile mechanic Mark Lynch of ML Forest Ireland in Mountrath, Co. Laois for any repairs that are needed.”
Michael explains how he has been working with timber all his life.
“I started cutting wood for a company in Sweden before getting into bed processing. I’m lucky with the training I got from German and English foresters who were experts in hardwood. That gave me the opportunity to explore mature hardwood used for veneering and manufacturing top-quality furniture.
“I supplied oak timber to Windsor Castle, which is one of the official residences of Queen Elizabeth II, after it was damaged by fire in 1992”.
While other sectors have had to contend with COVID-19 and Brexit, the biggest threat to the forestry industry right now is the red tap logjam that has been created by that State’s licensing system. All forestry activity requires permits from the Department of Agriculture. In 2017, the Oireachtas passed a new Forestry Act allowing open appeals to the granting of all such licences.
As a result, anyone in the State can appeal any licence, which leaves harvesters like Michael waiting to fell trees in many cases.
“There are 6,800 licences in the system that are waiting to be processed,” he says.
“We have machines stopped at the moment because of the bureaucratic mess we find ourselves in. It is being caused by people in offices who don’t understand how the business works. It’s very frustrating. Not only are appeals leading to timber shortages, they’re also threatening jobs and livelihoods. I’ve come through three recessions before, but this is the biggest challenge I’ve ever faced.”
Michael and Olive would like to take this opportunity to thank their customers, suppliers and sub-contractors for their continued support.
MF Tree Services Ltd
Mobile: 087 271 2967
First published in Irish Tractor & Agri magazine Vol 9 No 4, July/August 2021