Review of Ash Dieback Scheme Supports

Review of Ash Dieback Scheme Supports

Green Party TD for Waterford, Marc Ó Cathasaigh has welcomed the announcement by his colleague Min. Pippa Hackett of the establishment of an independent review of her Department’s ash dieback support scheme. 

The group will review the existing and previous supports available to landowners with ash plantations funded under the National Forestry Programme which are now infected with Chalara and will make recommendations on these supports to the Minister within three months.

The arrival and spread of ash dieback throughout County Waterford has had a devastating impact on both our landscape and the livelihoods of affected landowners, according to Dep. Ó Cathasaigh. 

“The spread of ash die-back throughout County Waterford has been a huge blow both to our natural heritage and to landowners whose plantations have been devastated by the disease. To look up into our hedgerows at a time of year when trees should be in full leaf and see the bare branches of the diseased trees is a heartbreaking sight.”

Expressing his support for Minister Hackett’s initiative, Dep. Ó Cathasaigh welcomed the announcement of the independent review and its potential to shed light on the state’s plans for remedying the damage inflicted across the countryside. The review, expected to conclude by September, will provide foresters and affected landowners with a clearer understanding of the remedial measures to be undertaken.

“I welcome Min. Hackett’s announcement of this independent review, so that by September, foresters and affected landowners will have a clearer picture of how the state intends to remediate the damage caused across the countryside,” Dep. Ó Cathasaigh stated. 

On the announcement of her plan, Minister Hackett stated “Unfortunately ash dieback is now endemic in our countryside. To date my Department has provided over €9m in support to landowners with infected plantations by removing and replanting their sites with alternative species. We have also doubled the rates for this recently. As we approach 10 years of these supports, I have listened to the concerns of landowners and I have tasked an independent group to review existing Department supports.”

 The Minister added “My Department has received applications for assistance under these schemes for almost 6,500 hectares of grant aided ash to date. It’s important with the upcoming introduction of a new Forestry programme that farmers continue to have confidence in the Forestry schemes and this review will be very timely. Consultation with stakeholders will be an essential part of the Review and the Group will be in direct contact with stakeholders to ensure that their voice is heard. I expect to receive the group‘s final report by 15 September after which I will fully consider its recommendations.”