TD Demands Big Boost in Ash Dieback Compensation Payouts

"Independent TD Carol Nolan Urges Urgent Review of €79.5 Million Support Package for Ash Dieback Affected Farmers"

Independent TD for Laois-Offaly, Carol Nolan, is urging for an immediate reassessment of the recently unveiled €79.5 million aid package for farmers affected by ash dieback in their forests. The support initiative offers a payment of €5,000 per hectare to ash forest owners who have either engaged with or will engage with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s (DAFM) ash dieback schemes to clear affected sites and conduct replanting efforts. This financial aid will be dispensed in three installments. Initially, forest owners who have completed clearance and replanting will receive an upfront payment of €2,500, with subsequent annual payments of €1,250 each in the second and third grant stages after four years, as outlined by Barry Delany, the director of forestry at DAFM.

Carol Nolan brought this issue to the attention of the Dáil after discussions with the Limerick and Tipperary Woodland Owners (LTWO), who highlighted several deficiencies in the scheme. Addressing the concerns, Nolan stated, “I know from my engagement with the LTWO that particular concerns exist around the clearance grants that are capped at €2,000 per hectare, while actual clearance costs are estimated at €6,500 per hectare. This situation means that farmers will need to seek external funding to clear their land.” Despite initially welcoming the scheme for acknowledging the need to compensate landowners for losses beyond their control, the independent TD remarked, “Unfortunately, we now see that the devil really was in the detail, and as such, I am calling for an urgent review and a significant increase in the proposed compensation levels.”

Nolan emphasized that the payment of €5,000 per hectare falls short when compared to the typical losses of €40,000 per hectare, according to independent forestry valuation. “What is urgently required is a thorough review of this scheme and a clear timeline for compensating the affected landowners promptly and fairly,” Nolan emphasized during her address to the Dáil on Wednesday, May 8th. In response to Deputy Nolan’s concerns, Taoiseach Simon Harris acknowledged the efforts of Minister of State Pippa Hackett at the DAFM, stating, “I am pleased that we have reached a point where a scheme is in place to offer financial support. This has been a challenging period for many farmers and foresters. I understand the deputy’s support for the scheme. If she wishes to communicate her concerns regarding Limerick and Tipperary, I will ask Minister of State Pippa Hackett to address them.”

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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