March 21, 2024
Farmers and forestry owners cannot wait any longer for ash dieback strategy – Claire Kerrane TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Agriculture, Claire Kerrane TD, has blasted the Government’s failure to deliver a strategy for addressing ash dieback, describing the delay as ‘disgraceful’.

Minister Hackett had advised that the long-awaited action plan would be submitted for approval in the ‘very near future’ during an exchange with Teachta Kerrane in the Dáil last month.

Yet, there is still no sight of such a strategy, despite repeated assurances that it was imminent.

Farmers, forestry owners and representative organisations have been calling for the Government’s response to addressing ash dieback for some time, with an independent review published in September emphasising that the situation was now a national emergency.

Speaking today, Teachta Kerrane said:

“It is unacceptable that farmers and forestry owners are still awaiting the publication of a strategy to address ash dieback. The extensive delays and sheer lack of action from the Government on this matter cannot be described as anything other than disgraceful.

“I have been asking the Minister when the Government’s action plan to address ash dieback will be produced consistently. She had assured me time and time again that it will be presented to Cabinet for approval in the ‘very near future’.

“Yet, months have passed and we still have no sight of a much-needed strategy. This is despite those involved in forestry highlighting the urgent need for action from a financial perspective and from a health and safety perspective.

“I recently met with local farmers in County Galway who are really distressed that a strategy has not yet been published. They are in limbo in a situation that only continues to worsen through no fault of their own.

“The Minister can choose to ignore my calls, but she should not be ignoring the calls of farmers and forestry owners whose ash plantations are affected.

“Farmers and forestry owners cannot wait any longer for a strategy on ash dieback and continue to suffer as a result of her idleness on this matter.

“I am demanding that Minister Hackett publish the action plan to address ash dieback immediately. There is no more time to lose.”

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