The Cabinet has announced it will not go ahead with the sale of Coillte harvesting rights as part of its plan to sell State assets.

Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney said the Government believes now is "not the appropriate time to proceed with the sale".

He said that the focus will now be on restructuring Coillte and evaluating how a merger with Bord na Móna might take place.

Mr Coveney said the decision came after extensive analysis of the financial implications of the sale as well as consideration of the possible impact on the timber industry, public access to recreational land and environmental and social impacts.

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin this afternoon told an Oireachtas Committee that it is not appropriate to sell the harvesting rights of Coillte.

He said that the significant number of vacancies on the Coillte board would be filled by people with relevant experience who can drive a merger with Bord na Móna forward.