Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue has ruled out paying compensation to plantation owners for income losses due to ash dieback.

In written replies to Dáil questions from Independent TD Carol Nolan, Minister McConalogue maintained that compensation for income loss was not permitted under EU state aid rules.

The minister said state aid rules were “explicit” in stipulating that any supports could “not facilitate compensation for loss, including income”.

He also insisted that farmers will have to replant lands affected by ash dieback, despite the severe financial losses they have incurred as a result of the disease.

Minister McConalogue said lands “must remain as a forest under the terms of RUS [Reconstitution and Underplanting Scheme]”, which is the Department of Agriculture’s ash dieback support measure.

With regard to ash dieback support schemes, Minister McConalogue said €9.2m “has been expended to date” and “interventions made on 2,338ha”.

In the region of 410 landowners have been approved for RUS and an interim support scheme launched in March, he said.