Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) farm forestry chair Jason Fleming said that farmers affected by ash dieback are dismayed that Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has ruled out the possibility of compensation for those affected.

“The Minister's rejection of compensation for those affected by ash dieback sends a strong message to farmers about the level of support they can expect from the Government and puts a big question mark on the future of [the] farm forestry sector,” Fleming said.

“Farmers are furious that the Minister continues to refuse to recognise the financial consequences of the disease, that they had no hand or part in importing into this country,” he said.

'Ravaged' investment

“Farmers with ash dieback are watching their forestry investment, in many instances their pension, being ravaged by ash dieback.

"This is being disregarded by the Minister and is not acceptable. All that farmers with ash dieback are seeking is fairness and a recognition of their financial losses,” he said.

The IFA has demanded a new scheme to be introduced that pays a 20-year premium on replanted land to recognise the financial losses incurred as a result of ash dieback.

“Let me be clear to the Minister - forest owners affected by ash dieback will continue to campaign for compensation and recognition of their financial loss,” Fleming concluded.