Just 25% of applications for the ash dieback scheme have been approved for payments.

Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue released the figures in response to a parliamentary question from Sinn Féin TD Pauline Tully.

The disease has devastated many farmers’ plantations and groups have been calling for adequate compensation for some time.

330 applications

“To date, the Department has received over 330 Reconstitution and Underplanting Scheme (RUS) applications for a total of 1,364ha and approved 83 applications for a total of 280ha, which demonstrates a healthy interest in the scheme,” the Minister said.

“RUS provides financial support for the removal of the affected ash crop and replacement with alternative species. However, it is not a compensatory tool to provide payment for financial loss incurred due to the impact of ash dieback disease.”

He continued by saying that the Department of Agriculture was in the process of preparing a detailed report on ash dieback.