Mixed response from IFO members on announcement of ash dieback scheme

Mixed response from IFO members on announcement of ash dieback scheme

Mixed response from IFO members on announcement of ash dieback scheme

May 3, 2024

IFO Press Release

There has been a mixed response from members of Irish Forest Owners to the announcement of a €5,000 per hectare package for growers whose crop has been wiped-out by ash dieback.

Consistent lobbying by forest owner representatives has finally borne some fruit. “Some of our members are ready to move on and welcome the payment, whereas other forest owners, particularly those with larger, more mature plantations, feel the payment does not come close to making good the financial loss ash dieback has caused” says Olive Leavy, National Coordinator, Irish Forest Owners.

The situation is complex and the impact of the disease has been different for different forest owners, depending on the size and age of the plantation. “A one-size fits all approach is never going to reasonably compensate all owners of ash plantations, and we hope that the door remains open to those forest owners experiencing the biggest losses, and particularly in cases where the cost of clearance and maintenance far exceeds what is covered in the grants”. It is also essential that all ash plantations, whether grant-aid or replanted after clearfell, are eligible under the terms of this package.

It is unfortunate that it has taken over 10 years of unnecessary delays to deliver this package and in the meantime, confidence in the sector has severely eroded. We hope that this becomes a turning point in recognising that forest owners must be put on an equal footing with those in other agricultural enterprises when it comes to matters with force majeure impact.

“What forest owners now need is clear and concise information on how to proceed, a swift decision on their application to the reconstitution ash dieback scheme, a fair and prompt receipt of payment without additional constraints or paperwork, and an increase in contractor capacity.”, says Leavy.

We hope the ash dieback taskforce, which our chairperson Derek McCabe is a member of, will convene in the coming weeks to ensure the rapid implementation of all the recommendations in the Independent Ash Dieback Review and to give forest owners the support needed to move on and get new trees in the ground.

The success or failure of this initiative will depend on the efficiency and fairness with which the forest service deals with forest owners and the various anomalies that will inevitably arise.

Media Coverage

RTE News Cabinet approves €79m ash dieback scheme

The Farmers Journal: Ash Dieback package sparks cautious welcome and growers’ concerns

The Farmers Journal: Mixed farmer reaction to ash dieback package



Since the announcement of the ash dieback scheme on Tuesday 30 April, it has been revealed in The Farmers Journal that forest owners will not receive a lump sum of €5,000 per hectare, but will instead be paid as follows: €2,500 at Form 2 stage (which is after the site has been replanted), followed by two payments of €1,250 at Form 3 (which is submitted at the end of maintenance period, which is usually around year 4).


The Department has also published DAFM Action Plan Ash Dieback April 2024

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