Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Agriculture, Éamon Ó Cuív TD, has called for rigorous implementation of Government policy in relation to the ash dieback disease.

The disease, which is widespread across continental Europe and Britain, has now spread to Ireland and Deputy Ó Cuív has warned that authorities here need to be vigilant.

“The dieback disease which has wiped out Ash tree populations across Europe is something that we can’t be flippant about in Ireland,” said Deputy Ó Cuív.

“I welcome the measures that have been introduced to protect the Ash tree here but it is very important that the guidelines set down are adhered to. There needs to be rigorous implementation of the measures to ensure the ash forests in Ireland are protected.

“I would also urge the Government to engage with the main importers of ash trees in Ireland. Over 350,000 hurleys are used in Ireland every year while ash is a large component of many types of indigenous furniture. Businesses that import or use ash need to be informed of the emergency measures the Government has introduced, they need to be fully aware of what is required of them in order to limit the risk of the disease spreading further in Ireland.

“Cross-border co-operation in Ireland is also imperative. Communication must remain open between the Governments North and South of the border.

“The threat of the dieback disease will remain constant and authorities must continue