Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney told Dail Eireann last week that landowners who were affected by the ash dieback disease will not be compensated.
Last Thursday, November 7, Sinn Fein Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister his views on the as dieback disease. He also queried the quantity of firewood that has been lost through the culling of ash trees; if restoration works will be carried out to the stock proof fencing damaged by the removal of the trees and the ground impacted by the works; if the trees that were removed will be replaced at a future date; and will there be a compensation package for the inconvenience caused to some farmers through the early rehousing of stock in order to facilitate the tree removal.
Minister Coveney explained that the Ash dieback that was confirmed outside of Ballinamore “at a forest plantation which 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. 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.”
He said, “The quantity of firewood that has been felled as a result of this operation is currently being calculated. 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.”
Concluding Minister Coveney told the Dáil, “Whilst my Department is doing everything possible to minimise any inconvenience to landowners affected by ash dieback disease, there are no plans to introduce a compensation package.”