Kerrane Hails Ash Dieback Scheme as Positive Progress

Sinn Féin raises questions over government's ash dieback scheme as Cabinet approves 'Ash Dieback Action Plan'

The Irish government’s recent announcement of the ash dieback scheme has been met with cautious optimism by Sinn Féin’s agriculture spokesperson, Claire Kerrane. The Cabinet’s approval of the ‘Ash Dieback Action Plan’ on Tuesday, April 30, signifies a significant step forward in addressing the devastating impact of the disease on ash plantations. The plan includes increased grant rates for clearing and replanting, as well as a €5,000/ha Climate Action Performance Payment for affected forest owners. Additionally, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) has confirmed a 100% increase in the site clearance grant rate under the Forestry Programme.

Deputy Claire Kerrane expressed relief that the long-awaited support scheme has finally been announced, albeit nearly eight months after the publication of an independent review on the government’s response to ash dieback. She acknowledged the delay but commended the additional support for farmers and forestry owners affected by the disease as a positive step. Kerrane has been persistent in her calls for Minister Pippa Hackett to release the action plan, particularly following the independent review’s characterization of the situation as a ‘national emergency’.

The Roscommon-Galway TD criticized the government for its perceived inaction on forestry issues, especially concerning ash dieback. She believes that the announcement of the support scheme indicates a newfound sense of urgency within the government. Kerrane highlighted the mental toll that the delay in implementing a support scheme has taken on affected farmers, emphasizing the need for clear communication and detailed information on how the plan will benefit them.

Deputy Kerrane pointed out that some of the recommendations from the independent review, such as exploring the potential for a one-off ex-gratia payment to affected landowners, have not been included in the action plan. She has urged Minister Hackett to address these concerns and ensure that financial aid, including potential EU funding, is available to support landowners who may struggle to replant or may not live to see the benefits of new plantations. Kerrane stressed the importance of engaging with the sector to ensure that the support scheme is effective and meets the needs of affected farmers and forestry owners.

In conclusion, the announcement of the ash dieback scheme has been welcomed as a positive development, albeit with reservations and unanswered questions. Deputy Claire Kerrane’s calls for transparency, engagement with affected stakeholders, and consideration of all potential challenges are crucial to the successful implementation of the plan. The government must ensure that the support scheme is not just a token gesture but a meaningful and effective response to the ongoing crisis of ash dieback in Ireland.

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.

Leave a Replay

Scroll to Top