There are no plans to introduce a compensation package for landowners affected by the ash dieback disease, according to Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Minister Simon Coveney.
But he also told Sinn Féin TD Martin Ferris in a written reply to a Dáil question that his department is doing everything possible to minimise any inconvenience to affected landowners.
Mr Ferris raised a number of issues about the confirmation of the disease in a hedgerow at Ballinamore, Co Leitrim,
He asked the minister if he had established where the disease originated and to outline the quantity of firewood that had been lost through the culling of ash trees.
The Kerry TD also inquired if restoration works will be carried out to the stock proof fencing damaged by the removal of the trees and sought details about the ground impacted by the works. Mr Ferris asked if the trees that were removed will be replaced at a future date and if there would be a compensation package for the inconvenience caused to some farmers through the early re-housing of stock in order to facilitate the tree removal.
Mr Coveney said the first finding of the ash dieback disease in Ireland was confirmed in Co Leitrim in Oct 2012 at a forest plantation planted in 2009 with trees imported from continental Europe. This plantation was cleared of these imported ash trees by the end of Oct 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.
Mr Coveney said the quantity of firewood that has been felled as a result of this operation is 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 re-seeding of damaged patches of ground and provision of appropriate hedging trees will also be carried out, he said.
Mr Coveney said while his 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.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved