Landowners with forests affected by Ash Die back disease are to escalate their campaign for a Government rescue package. The Limerick Tipperary Woodland owners group say they are leading the campaign by default and hope larger farming bodies such as the IFA will take up the issue. The group are asking for an urgent government response that would include immediate permission to remove the diseased trees, compensation for the loss of income at the rate of €300 per acre for every year since premiums ended until the ash is removed. The group wants the State to fund the removal costs and permit the land owner to choose whether or not to plant more trees or to use the land for farming to generate an immediate income. An estimated 6000 farmer’s forests nationwide are impacted by the disease. The group hosted a meeting over the weekend in Thurles and were informed by MEP Sean Kelly that the issue will have to be addressed by the Irish Government as the State promoted the monoculture approach of ash plantations and failed to regulate imports which led to the disease being introduced here.
Simon White, chairperson of the Limerick Tipperary Woodland Owner Group says the individuals involved deserve justice and that the State must realise how vital the sector is to Ireland’s Climate Action Plan.