An update on the outbreak of ash dieback in Ireland was discussed in the Oireachtas recently.

North Kerry Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Agriculture for an update on the outbreak situation in Ballinamore, Leitrim. The first finding of the ash dieback disease in Ireland was confirmed in Leitrim in October 2012 at the forest plantation that had been planted in 2009 with trees imported from continental Europe. This plantation was cleared of these imported ash trees by the end of October 2012.

To date there has been 101 confirmed findings of ash dieback in Ireland and just recently, two  outbreaks have been detected in ash hedgerows in Leitrim and Tipperary last month.

In reply to Deputy Ferris, Minister Simon Coveney said: “All findings of the disease since then have been associated with imported stock up until the confirmation last month that hedgerow ash trees within and close to this formerly infected plantation tested positive for the disease. It is likely that the disease has spread from the imported trees in the formerly infected plantation to the hedgerow.”

The quantity of firewood that has been felled as a result of this operation is currently being calculated, he added.

“Stock-proof fencing is being carried out on the site where fencing has been damaged. Repairs are being made to drains or where ground has been damaged. Other works including reseeding of damaged patches of ground and provision of appropriate hedging trees will also be carried out.”

The minister also confirmed that there are no plans to introduce a compensation package.

There has been to date 101 confirmed findings of ash dieback in Ireland. In an ongoing survey being carried out by department official’s plantations, nurseries, roadsides, landscape and farm landscape plantings and hedgerows were targeted.

So far the survey has found 40 confirmed findings in forestry plantations, 17 cases in horticultural nurseries, four in garden centres, three in private gardens, 15 in farm landscaping/agri-environmenal schemes, 20 in roadside landscaping and two findings in hedgerows near infected sites.

For guidance on the symptoms of ash dieback caused by Chalara fraxinea, click on the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine’s Chalara webpage here, the Forest Service, the Teagasc advice hub here and the IFA here.

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