The first All Ireland Chainsaw Competition is underway in the woods of the Slieve Bloom Mountains, County Laois.

Teams from all over Ireland competed in the National Chainsaw Championships organised by the Irish Timbermen's Association (ITA) and the primary role of competition is to highlight safety in timber harvesting.

In spite of appalling weather thousands of people went to Lacca, Ossory Forrest  in County Laois to support the chainsaw wielding timber harvesters and during the day some 20 Sitka spruce trees were felled. 

However the contest is not a race against the clock. Judges from forestry service gave each contestant 15 minutes to demonstrate his still. Precision is crucial and if tree does not fall between outlined pegs, the contestant is disqualified.

Bernard McManus from Dundalk was the overall individual winner of the All-Ireland Chainsaw final and he will go on to represent Ireland in the World championships in England in 1988.

ITA president Richard Whelan demonstrates the safety features of chainsaw and how safety gear protects a chainsaw operator. However safety gear is meaningless if the person using a chainsaw has a bad technique.

In between competitions, founder member of ITA Paudge Curtis organised demonstrations of new forestry machinery including the labour saving devices the Japanese Tree Monkey and the Vimek Processor.

Minister of State for Forestry Michael Smith is confident about the state of forestry in Ireland.

It's quite healthy and we intend to make it even more healthy.

He denies there is a public outcry over the sale of sate forestry and believes the government is placing significance on the development of forests.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 21 September 1987. The reporter is Teresa Mannion.