May 13, 2024
Devil in detail as €5,000 payment under Ash Dieback Scheme not as announced – Claire Kerrane TD

Raising concerns during a Committee meeting with the Secretary General of the Department of Agriculture, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture Claire Kerrane TD queried the minimal changes announced by his Department for landowners affected by ash dieback.

It was confirmed to Teachta Kerrane that the €5,000 payment announced under the Scheme will in fact be paid in three instalments with the final two paid four to five years after the initial one.

Speaking after the Committee meeting, Kerrane said:

“Last month, Minister Hackett eventually published the Action Plan on Ash Dieback following a review of the existing Scheme published last September. I had repeatedly called for the publication of the much needed Action Plan as landowners affected by ash dieback waited and waited.

“The new financial component of what was included in the Action Plan, as the Minister described it, was the Climate Action Performance Payment of €5,000 and it was announced as a €5,000 payment per hectare for participants in the reconstitution schemes i.e. affected trees cleared and replanted.

“Nowhere in the Minister’s lengthy press statement published on the Government’s website does it mention the fact that the €5,000 will be paid over a number of years and in three instalments. This is misleading and it should be corrected on the press statement.

“At Committee, I asked the Secretary General of the Department about the €5,000 payment announced as part of the minimal changes made to the Scheme and he confirmed that it actually wasn’t a payment of €5,000 rather it would be paid over three instalments.

“This includes an initial payment of €2,500 once a site is cleared and re-planted, and at the end of the premium, four years later, a payment of €1,250 and a further payment of €1,250 a year later. This is not what was announced.

“The very least the Minister can do after leaving landowners affected by Ash Dieback for the last 10 years is communicate honestly on the Scheme announced. I am calling on Minister Hackett to correct her press statement and add in this important detail rather than leaving those affected thinking they will receive a payment of €5,000 which you would read from the statement was a payment in one go.”

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