Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) national farm forestry chair Jason Fleming has said that the IFA’s meeting with the ash dieback review group on Tuesday was an opportunity to highlight the critical concerns and needs of forest owners affected by ash dieback.

“Our message to the ash dieback review group is the same communication we have repeatedly delivered to the Department of Agriculture - a new scheme is required that fully compensates those affected by the disease.”

Fleming has said that without addressing ash dieback, confidence in the sector will not be rebuilt.

In June 2023, Minister of State with responsibility for forestry Senator Pippa Hackett announced the establishment of an independent review of the ash dieback support scheme.


The IFA is seeking the following changes to the scheme:

  • Provide a 100% reconstitution grant for all infected plantations, enabling forest owners to clearfell and replant with tree species that satisfy their management objectives.
  • Reinstate a 20-year premium on replanted land to incentivise the restoration of affected areas.
  • Ensure adequate compensation for the value of the timber asset, based on the valuation of healthy ash plantations at the time of clearance.
  • Allow farmers affected by ash dieback the option not to replant, without penalties, under specific circumstances.
  • The Government must implement stronger control measures to prevent the introduction and spread of diseases of tree species that are grant aided under the Afforestation Scheme. The Government must provide assurance to farmers that they will be properly compensated if a disease puts their investment at risk.
  • Roadside ash dieback

    The introduction of a financial support scheme is needed to address roadside ash trees, Fleming added.

    "A new scheme to provide grants to support farmers to hire relevant professionals to safely fell roadside trees affected by ash dieback is also badly needed," he concluded.