Importation of ash timber to be restricted
The ash tree disease discovered in Co Leitrim last month has also been found in trees planted in Meath, Monaghan and Galway.
The disease, Chalara fraxinea, or ash dieback, was first found in young trees which came from an imported consignment of 33,000 plants. The rest of the consignment was planted in 10 other sites around the State including the sites in Meath, Monaghan and Galway.
Minister of State with responsibility for forestry Shane McEntee said today the plants in all 11 sites had been destroyed as a safety measure once the disease was detected in Leitrim, but the test results were only confirmed yesterday.
Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, he said he was signing legislation today in conjunction with Northern Ireland which would ban the importation of ash timber unless certain conditions had been met, including the removal of the bark or the provision of a certificate of clearance showing the wood came from an area free from disease.
He noted that nearly 70 per cent of ash for hurleys was imported. However, most hurley makers bought their timber in plank form, so this restriction would not affect them.
“We are hoping in the next number of years, provided everybody is vigilant and everyone obeys the rules, we will be in a position to provide enough ash in our own country to make our own hurleys,” he said.