A new study has found that the sale of the harvesting rights of Ireland's forests could not be justified economically.

The report, commissioned by the Coillte branch of IMPACT, found any economic benefit would be outweighed by the liabilities the State would incur.

It said the State would remain liable for costs of €1.3bn following a sale of the harvesting rights.

It found that Coillte would need to sell the rights at almost double its average selling price, around €78 per cubic metre, in order for the State to cover those costs.

The study also found that there was nothing to suggest this would be possible.

Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, the report's author, Peter Bacon, said that while the Government would get a lump sum now, it would forgo future profits, while also being left with residual costs.