The review of the Reconstitution on Ash Dieback scheme is taking longer than it should have, Minister for State with responsibility for forestry Andrew Doyle has said.
Since 2012 hundreds of farmers and landowners have seen their forestry plantations laid to waste by Ash Dieback disease.
Minister Doyle announced last April 2018 that a review was taking place on the Reconstitution on Ash Dieback scheme to explore delivering new options for farmers whose plantations had been impacted by the disease.
However, the review has still not been published almost a year and a half later since it was announced.
“I accept it has taken longer than should have, but while trying to eradicate it and best practice was to try and eradicate it the Reconstitution Scheme came in, but there are those affected who will say there was no real reward for them and while they continue to get paid a premium, there could be 8,10,15,20 years whatever it was of growth lost and they’ve to start back from scratch,” Minister Doyle told the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Agriculture.
Labour TD Willie Penrose pointed out that farmers who have been affected by the disease should be allowed put the land back in to traditional farming and criticized the Minister for the delay in the review which has been “over 12 months in gestation.”
“There’s a lot of distrust and anger out there. The situation is not good, people are not happy. Forest owners are bearing the brunt of the disease and they’re not at fault, they didn’t allow the disease in to the country,” he said.
“Ash owners have lost out. Compensation is the right thing. They have lost their shirt to put it mildly when we talk about Mercosur and everything else.
“There’s a huge loss of carbon sequestration in that area as a result of the loss of ash. There are losses for hurling and growers. A proper scheme is needed again.”