Ash dieback threatens hurley making

A plant disease that could decimate stocks of ash tress used in traditional hurley making has hit 26 plantations, agriculture officials have revealed.

Ash dieback has been confirmed in forestry in 11 counties including Carlow, Cavan, Clare, Galway, Kildare, Kilkenny, Leitrim, Longford, Meath, Tipperary and Waterford.

Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney said further surveys on the extent of the spread of the disease are under way.

“I am conscious that this situation has presented difficulties for those that have had to remove and destroy ash plants but I believe that taking decisive action now on imported ash product is the correct approach to prevent the establishment of this disease in Ireland,” he said.

The disease, a fungus also known as chalara fraxinea, has also been found in 14 horticultural nurseries, three samples from roadside trees and one garden centre, one private garden and one farm.

A draft document on a joint chalara control strategy with the North's agriculture and environment chiefs is to be published in the coming weeks.

The Department of Agriculture said it was awaiting results of other samples of suspected ash dieback. Officials have also extended survey work to cover plantations planted since 1992.

Ireland’s first case was confirmed last October and within a month a ban was imposed to restrict the movement of ash plants and seed into the country.

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