Woodland Warriors Rally Against Ash Dieback at Leinster House

"Forestry Owners to Protest at Leinster House Over Ash Dieback Crisis"

Forestry owners impacted by the devastating effects of ash dieback are rallying together in a call to action outside Leinster House this week. The protest, scheduled for Wednesday morning, is spearheaded by the Limerick and Tipperary Woodland Owners (LTWO) group. Expressing dismay over the government’s failure to act on the recommendations of an independent review on ash dieback, the LTWO is demanding urgent intervention. The review, initiated by Minister of State for land use and biodiversity Pippa Hackett, emphasized the need for a comprehensive, state-led response to tackle the ash dieback crisis.

Last month, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) unveiled a much-anticipated support package amounting to €79 million for those affected by ash dieback. This package includes enhanced grant rates for clearing and replanting, alongside a separate payment of €5,000/ha for individuals engaged in these activities. Furthermore, the Forestry Programme will see a doubling of the site clearance grant rate, from €1,000 to €2,000. Simon White, Chair of the LTWO, lauded the government’s acknowledgment that ash growers deserve compensation for losses beyond their control. Despite this recognition, White criticized the government for what he perceives as a mishandling of the crisis response.

According to White, ash growers have reached a breaking point and are increasingly disillusioned with the minister’s handling of the situation. LTWO raised concerns that while clearance grants are capped at €2,000/ha, the actual costs for clearing are estimated at €6,500/ha, forcing farmers into financial strain. Moreover, the group highlighted that the €5,000/ha compensation falls significantly short of the typical loss of €40,000/ha as per independent forestry valuation. LTWO emphasized the necessity for compensation to be tailored to the age and circumstances of each woodland, criticizing the current one-size-fits-all approach as unjust and inadequate.

In a bold move to push for immediate action, LTWO is rallying all affected ash growers and forestry advocates to unite in a protest outside Leinster House at 11:30am on Wednesday, May 29. The group is demanding the full and immediate implementation of the recommendations outlined in the ash dieback review report. Simon White affirmed, “Enough is enough,” as LTWO stands firm in its call for a more equitable and effective response to the ash dieback crisis.

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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