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Minister Coveney Outlines Policy for Removal of Suspect Ash Trees Planted Under REPS/AEOS.

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, outlined his Department’s policy regarding suspect ash trees planted under REPS/AEOS. Speaking today, Minister Coveney said that “Ash Dieback is a serious disease of ash trees and efforts are being made to eradicate it in Ireland”. The Minister asked farmers that have planted ash trees as part of their REPS or AEOS agri-environmental plan “to take time out to examine them for any unusual signs of ill health”.

The Minister added that “farmers who have concerns regarding ash plants planted under these schemes that may be showing symptoms of ash dieback, should contact the Department with a view to removing these plants under force majeure”. Concerned farmers should apply using the force majeure application form which can be downloaded from the Agri Environment Section of the Department’s website at www.agriculture.gov.ie. In the event that an applicant has any queries, Minister Coveney said that they should contact officials in his Department at 053-9165593 or 053-9170365 or by e-mail at either AEOS@agriculture.gov.ie or REPS@agriculture.gov.ie.

 Minister Coveney indicated that upon receipt in the Department, “requests will be considered and an early decision provided to the applicant.” He emphasised the point that “no action should be taken by the farmer until the application for force majeure is considered and approved. If granted, the trees can be removed without affecting the participant’s REPS/AEOS payments and without the need to replant.”

 The Minister highlighted the fact that “Teagasc, in association with the, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, will hold a nationwide series of public information meetings on the disease”. He concluded by “encouraging forest owners and farmers, including those who may have planted ash under REPS or AEOS, to attend the Teagasc/Forest Service meeting in their area to learn more about the disease.” The meetings will outline the up-to-date position on Ireland’s campaign to eradicate ash dieback and will provide an opportunity for concerned members of the public to ask questions on this important matter. Further details regarding the locations and times of the meetings can be found on the Teagasc website.

Date Released: 17 May 2013