County Councillor Calls for Government Taskforce to Remove Ash Trees Affected by Ash Dieback Along Roadsides
Independent Councillor Geraldine Donohue of Galway County Council has urged the government to establish a taskforce dedicated to the removal of ash trees affected by ash dieback along roadsides. Donohue emphasized that ash dieback poses a significant risk to human life, the general public, landowners, emergency personnel, and local crew operatives. She stressed the need for a taskforce equipped with the necessary plant machinery and equipment to carry out the removal process. Donohue expressed frustration with the government’s lack of response to calls for funding, stating that the responsibility is continuously shifted from one entity to another without any action being taken. She argued that her pleas for funding to address the risks posed by decaying ash trees along roadsides are often disregarded. Donohue emphasized the importance of providing support and financial assistance to farmers and homeowners who are unable to handle the dangerous task of cutting down these trees without professional training and specialist machinery. She criticized the government for placing the blame on landowners, who are now left in a vulnerable position. Without assistance, farmers and homeowners face the difficult decision of attempting the hazardous task themselves, paying for professional services, or simply leaving the trees to deteriorate naturally. Donohue highlighted that any other major incident would receive government funding and urged proactive measures to address the issue before any injuries or fatalities occur.
Call for Immediate Publication of Ash Dieback Strategy
In addition to the request for a taskforce, there have been calls for the government to release its ash dieback strategy without delay. Minister of State Pippa Hackett, responsible for land use, had previously stated that a comprehensive implementation plan for ash dieback would be presented to the Cabinet for approval in December. However, Sinn Féin spokesperson for agriculture Claire Kerrane revealed that no updates have been provided since then, and the strategy remains unpublished. Kerrane expressed concern over the worsening situation as weeks and months pass without any sign of a strategy. She criticized the minister for repeatedly assuring the public that a detailed action plan was being prepared, yet failing to deliver. The issue of ash dieback continues to escalate, and the absence of a strategy is causing further frustration and uncertainty.
These developments highlight the urgent need for the government to address the risks associated with ash dieback. The establishment of a taskforce, equipped with the necessary resources, would ensure the safe removal of affected trees along roadsides. Furthermore, the immediate publication of an ash dieback strategy is crucial for effective management and mitigation of the disease. Failure to take action not only endangers human life but also leaves landowners, farmers, and homeowners in a precarious position. It is imperative that the government responds proactively to protect the public and provide the necessary support to those affected by this ongoing issue.