FORESTRY officials are stepping up efforts to combat the deadly ash dieback disease after further positive samples were found in new areas.
Survey results have now confirmed 22 cases of ash dieback, or chalara. The majority of these are in young plantations, six are in horticultural nurseries and one was found in an ornamental ash tree.
Incidents of ash dieback have now been found in counties Leitrim, Meath, Tipperary, Kilkenny, Waterford, Carlow, Kildare, Laois, Longford and Galway.
Forestry Minister Shane McEntee said there will be a "major eradication programme" on sites where the disease has been confirmed. "While we are aware that the disease does not spread until the summer, we are intensifying our efforts in dealing with this," he added.