€79.7M Approved For Those Impacted By Ash Dieback

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The Cabinet is to be asked to approve a €79.5 million package for farmers and landowners whose forests have been impacted by ash dieback.

The proposal comes from the Dept. of Agriculture and in particular Minister of State for Land Use Pippa Hackett.

The Limerick and Tipperary Woodland Owners group have been lobbying for an improved compensation scheme from the Government for growers that lost their trees to the disease.

It provides a €5,000 per hectare payment to farmers who clear ash sites and re-establish new forests in their place. This latest fund is in addition to an existing €160 million scheme that pays farmers to clear their ash forests and replant them with a different species.

The average ash plantation is three hectares, meaning a payment of €15,000 for those landowners, in addition to grants covering the costs of clearing and re-establishing the site.

Farmers who have already cleared and re-established sites under previous ash dieback schemes will also qualify for this €5,000 per hectare payment.

An estimated 6,000 farmers and growers have been impacted by the disease that was imported into Ireland in 2012

The payments, of €5,000 per hectare, would be in addition to previously announced site clearance grants of €2,000 per hectare and up to €8,500 to reconstitute plantations. The scheme may not be fully satisfactory to growers as many wanted to be compensated for the full economic value of the trees they planted – had they reached maturity.