Storm Isha has revealed a concerning issue of ash dieback in Ireland, with “hundreds of ash trees” being infected, according to Senator Tim Lombard. He has called on the government to provide funding to local authorities to conduct surveys and remove infected trees. Lombard highlighted that many of the roadside ash trees that fell during the storm appeared healthy but were found to be infected. This realization emphasizes the need for regular inspection of roadside ash trees, as they are common in hedgerows and along roads.
Lombard emphasized that this issue is not only a concern for landowners but also for homeowners who may have ash trees in their gardens. There is a potential liability for both parties. While there is a scheme in place to remove infected trees from ash plantations, there is currently no provision for roadside trees. Lombard called on Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien to intervene and establish a special fund for local authorities to carry out surveys and safely remove weakened trees.
According to Lombard, removing infected trees from roadsides would significantly reduce the threat to health and safety. Fallen trees caused road closures and posed risks during Storm Isha. By minimizing the risk of trees falling, a major hazard can be eliminated from the roads, especially during severe weather conditions like those brought on by Storm Isha and the predicted Storm Jocelyn, as well as future extreme weather events.
As of today, 57,000 ESB customers remain without power following Storm Isha, down from the peak of 235,000 immediately after the storm. The ESB has been working to restore power, with around 178,000 customers having their power restored since yesterday morning. The areas where customers still lack power are mainly in the northwest of the country, including counties Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Mayo, and Sligo. However, restoration efforts are likely to be affected by the arrival of Storm Jocelyn, which is expected to bring strong and potentially damaging winds.