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Ash Dieback

Ash Dieback is a scourge on plantations and we would be remiss if we did not take action on behalf of our members.
Please see the following statement from the LTWO chairman.
Symptoms of ash dieback.
(Image via Teagasc)
Dear members,

I appeal to everyone affected by Ash Dieback to join us in taking a stand and supporting our effort to win compensation for all Ash growers.

I have been appalled by the developing situation and losses that ash growers are suffering due to the importation and spread of this disease, which could, and should have been prevented by the Dept. of Agriculture.

We have set up a fighting fund with an account in the Askeaton Cois Sionna Credit Union. We are asking concerned individuals to contribute €100.00 each to this fund to enable us to take our efforts further.

What is the problem?
The schemes introduced by the Department of Agriculture to deal with Ash Dieback have concentrated solely on futile attempts at controlling the spread of the disease. They have consistently failed to address the financial problems that ash growers are facing due to their entire plantation being lost to Ash Dieback.
The RUS fails in all the aspects it should cover from a tree growers point of view. Anyone who avails of this scheme effectively rules themselves out of any future benefits we may succeed in winning for them. Anyone tempted, out of frustration, or through poor advice, to avail of the RUS should think seriously of the consequences to them for the future.  
Those who planted ash under afforestation schemes had a legitimate expectation of having a valuable saleable asset in their trees 20-30 years after planting. Ash Dieback has reduced this to a paltry value. This loss must be compensated for.

How did this happen?
In short, the disease came in on imported plants from an area where the disease was known to be rampant. The phyto-security measures on plant importation were totally inadequate to protect Ireland’s investment in its native forest estate from a disease that was known to be such a significant threat.

  • It is not possible to control the spread of Ash Dieback. The misinformation propagated by the Forest Service about Ash Dieback needs to be highlighted and corrected.  

In addition, the current plan for dealing with Ash Dieback is unviable.

  • Removal of visibly affected plants and leaving ash plants not currently showing signs of infection does not make those plants stronger and better able to resist the disease. They will die anyway. It is accepted scientifically that at best 5% of ash trees might survive and at worst, only 1% will.
  • Interplanting a diseased crop leaving unaffected ash trees to die and be felled upon the newly planted trees, causing needless damage, makes no operational sense.
  • The identification and propagation of disease-resistant ash to repopulate our forests with ash trees is not relevant to dealing with the immediate effects of Ash Dieback. This is a long-term research project – twenty or thirty years away from any prospect of success.  
  • There is no alternative species of broadleaf trees with a similar commercial potential that ash trees once had. It is currently not possible to reimburse the financial loss of ash trees by replacing them with any other broadleaf species in Ireland.
  • There are sites infected by fungal infestations that are unsuitable to replant and, in these cases the requirement to replant is impossible to accomplish.There are also sites with high lime content, making them unsuitable for replanting with Spruce
  • There are several reasons why it’s a bad option for landowners to replant their affected ash plantations. The legislation has to be changed to allow these people to use other methods of production to gain income from that land other than forestry. Most will prefer to replant but those who do not must be given the option.
  • It is ridiculous that replacing ash with conifers is considered a change of use and needs planning permission. Why is it not allowed to change the use of the land to other agricultural production? Silviculture is the same as agriculture. It is not an industrial process.  
  • There is a growing health and safety issue involved in taking out the affected ash trees and this needs to be dealt with and the costs incurred in doing so need to be covered.  

Required changes
  1. All Ash plantations showing any bare crown damage will be considered eligible for acceptance into a revised RUS, as examined by a registered forester.
  2. Acceptance/refusal into the scheme to be notified to the landowner within 30 days of application. Independent Appeals available.
  3. Acceptance into the scheme will include all Ash trees in the plantation, regardless of Age, Height or DBH.
  4. Clearance grant increased to €4,000 Ha as drains, fencing etc will also need re-doing.
  5. Full compensation to be paid for the potential clearfell value of the entire crop.
  6. Regular premiums for 15 years to begin following re-planting by an alternative crop.
  7. A permanent Environmental annuity, which would include a value for Carbon sequestration, to be paid at a rate of 90% of existing premiums.

How can I take a stand?
Support our action on behalf of you and the ash growers of Ireland. You can help us by writing a cheque or making an bank transfer to the below details:
EFT (Bank Transfer)
You can support our cause by sending funds via EFT to the Ash Dieback Fighting Fund.

Account Details:
IBAN: IE65CSCI9921970935900
Made payable to Ash Dieback. Send to the following address:
  John O’Connell,
  Blossom Hill,
  Co Limerick.
Anyone wishing to find out more about what we are doing is welcome to contact me at chairman@limerickandtipperarywoodlandowners.ie or 0872726952.
Limerick and Tipperary Woodland Owners
087 656 1864


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