Sinn Féin’s agriculture spokesperson, Claire Kerrane, has urged Minister of State Pippa Hackett to release the government’s ash dieback strategy without delay. In October, an independent review of government support for farmers affected by ash dieback emphasized the need to treat the tree disease as a national emergency. The review called for the establishment of a task force, led by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM), to coordinate the clearance of diseased plantations and the establishment of new ones. Minister Hackett had previously stated that a comprehensive implementation plan would be presented to the Cabinet for approval in December, but no updates have been provided since then. Deputy Kerrane is calling on the Minister to take immediate action and publish the strategy.
Farmers, forestry landowners, and representative organizations have continuously raised concerns about the worsening issue of ash dieback. Deputy Kerrane stressed that it poses health and safety risks, as well as financial losses for affected individuals. The situation is expected to deteriorate further if prompt measures are not implemented. Deputy Kerrane emphasized the urgency of the matter and urged the Minister to address the issue immediately by publishing a strategy to tackle ash dieback.
It is crucial for the government to respond swiftly to the threat posed by ash dieback. The disease has already had a significant impact on Ireland’s ash tree population, causing extensive damage and posing a risk to biodiversity. The independent review highlighted the need for a coordinated and rapid response, led by the Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine. By establishing a task force that includes relevant stakeholders, the government can ensure a comprehensive and effective approach to tackling the disease.
The lack of progress in implementing a strategy to address ash dieback is a cause for concern. The government has had the independent review since September, which emphasized the urgency of the situation and proposed various actions to combat the disease. Despite assurances from Minister Hackett, no concrete steps have been taken. This has led to frustration among farmers and forestry owners who are grappling with the consequences of ash dieback.
Deputy Kerrane’s call for immediate action is justified. The longer the government delays in addressing the issue, the more severe the impact will be. Not only does ash dieback pose a threat to Ireland’s natural environment, but it also affects the livelihoods of those in the agriculture and forestry sectors. The government must prioritize the publication of a comprehensive strategy that outlines clear steps to tackle ash dieback and mitigate its effects.
In conclusion, Minister Hackett must fulfill her commitment to present a detailed action plan to the Cabinet. The urgency of the situation demands swift and effective measures. By publishing the ash dieback strategy, the government can demonstrate its commitment to protecting Ireland’s environment and supporting those affected by the disease. It is time to take action and address this national emergency without further delay.