Breakthrough Talks: First Ash Dieback Taskforce Meeting Sees Progress

"Minister Pippa Hackett Leads Productive Discussion at Inaugural Ash Dieback Taskforce Meeting"

Senator Pippa Hackett, Minister of State for Land Use and Biodiversity in the Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine (DAFM), emphasized the positive outcomes of the inaugural meeting of the ash dieback taskforce. This taskforce, overseen by DAFM, brings together key stakeholders, including representatives of ash plantation owners, with the aim of coordinating a comprehensive response and efficiently implementing the ash dieback action plan.

The ash dieback taskforce is scheduled to convene four times annually over a three-year period. Minister Hackett noted the productive nature of the first meeting, which took place on Tuesday, May 28, highlighting the collaborative efforts of all participants in addressing this critical issue.

Among the attendees at the recent gathering of the Forest Strategy Consultative Committee (FSCC) ash dieback taskforce were representatives from various organizations, including the Irish Timber Growers Association (ITGA), Forest Industries Ireland (FII), Irish Farmers Association (IFA), Teagasc, Irish Forest Owners (IFO), Social Economic Environmental Forestry Association (SEEFA), and Limerick and Tipperary Woodland Owners (LTWO).

Minister Hackett underscored the government’s commitment to swiftly implementing the ash dieback action plan, which was presented to the cabinet last month alongside an additional €79.5 million in funding for ash plantation owners. This funding forms part of an overall support package totaling potentially €237 million, with a significant portion allocated to the Climate Action Performance Payment scheme, offering €5,000 per hectare to eligible ash forest owners who engage in site clearance and replanting as part of the departmental ash dieback reconstitution scheme.

Expressing the importance of stakeholder involvement and representation, Minister Hackett affirmed that the ash dieback taskforce serves as a crucial platform for engaging with landowners and the broader forestry sector. She emphasized the taskforce’s role in facilitating transparent and detailed discussions as the action plan is put into effect.

In her statement, Minister Hackett reiterated her commitment to implementing all recommendations outlined in the independent review commissioned to evaluate the previous handling of the ash dieback outbreak. She emphasized the taskforce’s pivotal role in ensuring effective communication and collaboration between the government and stakeholders, as efforts continue to combat the impact of ash dieback on Ireland’s forestry landscape.

The establishment of the ash dieback taskforce represents a significant step forward in addressing the challenges posed by this destructive tree disease. With a clear focus on cooperation and coordinated action, the taskforce aims to drive progress in safeguarding Ireland’s ash plantations and supporting affected landowners in the recovery and restoration process.

As the taskforce prepares to convene regularly over the coming years, the commitment to proactive engagement and comprehensive implementation of the action plan remains at the forefront of efforts to combat ash dieback and protect the sustainability of Ireland’s forestry sector.

Matt Lyons

Matt Lyons

Matt Lyons is the founder of Forestry & Carbon. Matt has over 25 years as a forestry consultant and is invoilved in numerous carbon credit offset projects.

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