Irish minister Shane McEntee has toured Grainger Sawmills, which the company says is Ireland’s only carbon neutral timber processing plant.

Mr McEntee, agricultural minister, with special responsibility for forestry, was in Enniskeane for an extensive tour of the Grainger plant, with the main focus the company’s £8m combined heat and power plant.

Mr McEntee’s tour of the facility was accompanied by Graingers founder William Grainger and by local member of the Irish parliament, Jim Daly.

“The operation of the plant means Grainger Sawmills is completely self-sufficient for its energy requirements, and can sell the surplus electricity to the national grid,” said Graingers.

The surplus energy can power 2,500 homes.

Grainger Sawmills contributes almost €9.5m to the local West Cork economy, and €20m annually to the South West Munster regional economy.

Mr McEntee said “these figures illustrate the contribution forestry makes to the Irish economy” and he added that he “was committed to the development of the sector to ensure a sustainable and viable industry”.