The deadly ash tree disease has been detected in 97 different forestry plantations, tree nurseries and farms in the latest national survey.
The Department of Agriculture carried out the survey to establish how common the ash dieback disease was.
It has found that it had affected ash trees in a total of 97 locations – including 39 forestry plantations, 16 horticultural nurseries and 20 roadsides.
In a worrying development, ash dieback disease was found to have spread to hedgerows and a tree that were located outside an infected plantation in Leitrim – which was the first confirmed location of ash dieback in the country.
Junior Minister for Agriculture Tom Hayes said he was fully aware of the significance of this finding – and that the eradication of the infected ash trees near the Leitrim plantation would start today.
“There has been a massive effort to survey for this disease and remove the disease anywhere it has presented itself. We will continue this policy of eradication and will keep the policy under constant review as results come in from the surveys,” he said.
Ash dieback is a serious disease of ash trees caused by the fungal pathogen Chalara fraxinea which has spread rapidly across much of Europe. The disease can affect ash trees of any age and in any setting. The disease can be fatal, particularly among younger trees. The disease is suspecting of spreading here due to infected ash trees imported from Europe.