Farmers affected by ash dieback are disappointed with the decision made by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, to rule out the possibility of compensation for those affected by the disease. According to Jason Fleming, Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) farm forestry chairperson, this decision has sent a strong message to farmers about the level of support they can expect from the government and has put a big question mark on the future of the farm forestry sector. Fleming added that farmers are angry that the financial consequences of the disease, which they had no hand or part in importing into the country, are being disregarded by the minister.
Farmers with ash dieback are watching their forestry investment, which is often their pension, being ravaged by the disease. The IFA has demanded a new scheme be introduced that pays a 20-year premium on replanted land to recognise the financial losses incurred as a result of ash dieback. Fleming has made it clear to the minister that forest owners affected by ash dieback will continue to campaign for compensation and recognition of their financial loss.
Ash dieback disease, caused by the fungus hymenoscyphus fraxineaus, was first confirmed in Ireland in October 2012 at a forestry plantation site that had been planted in 2009 with trees imported from continental Europe. The Reconstitution and Underplanting Scheme (RUS) was launched in June 2020 following a review of the national response to ash dieback disease. The scheme provides funding for forestry owners to clear and replant their land with a different species but does not offer any compensation for income loss.
The decision not to offer compensation has been met with frustration from farmers who feel that the government is not taking their concerns seriously. The IFA has argued that the financial impact of ash dieback on farmers is significant and that compensation is necessary to help them recover from the losses incurred.
The forestry sector is an important part of the Irish economy, and the impact of ash dieback on the sector has been significant. The disease has affected thousands of hectares of land in Ireland, and the cost of dealing with the disease has been substantial. The IFA has argued that compensation is necessary to ensure that farmers are not left to bear the burden of the financial losses caused by the disease.
The decision not to offer compensation has also raised questions about the government’s commitment to the forestry sector. The IFA has argued that the government needs to do more to support the sector, particularly in light of the challenges posed by ash dieback. The forestry sector is an important source of income and employment in rural areas, and the IFA has called on the government to recognise the important role it plays in the economy.
In conclusion, the decision not to offer compensation to farmers affected by ash dieback has been met with frustration and disappointment. The IFA has argued that compensation is necessary to help farmers recover from the financial losses incurred as a result of the disease. The forestry sector is an important part of the Irish economy, and the government needs to do more to support it, particularly in light of the challenges posed by ash dieback. The IFA will continue to campaign for compensation and recognition of the financial losses incurred by farmers affected by the disease.