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"You are only concerned when the hurley shortage happens': GAA urged to fight forest fungus

‘Ash Dieback’ disease could threaten the existence of the trees in Ireland and across Europe.

Image: Shutterstock/Revel Pix LLC

A FUNGUS COULD be threatening the future of hurley production.

The ‘Ash Dieback’ disease has been spreading across Europe and infecting trees which hurleys have been traditionally made of.

Fine Gael MEP and former president of the GAA, Seán Kelly, has called for the GAA to help combat the spread of the disease.

Response

Speaking at the European Parliament yesterday, Kelly urged GAA clubs across Ireland to support the work of Treemetrics – a Cork-based company focused on identifying and treating trees that are infected with Ash Dieback.

On the response needed, Kelly said:

“You are only really concerned when the actual shortage occurs, but there is awareness of it at Croke Park level. They would welcome with open arms an opportunity to nip it in the bud, and certainly to have an Irish company to identify what the problem is, and to alleviate it.”

More than 70 per cent of the 350,000 hurleys used every year in Ireland are made from imported ash.

Fungus 

Treemetrics use satellite sensor technology to detect issues with the trees across Ireland and are calling on members of the public to familiarise themselves with the symptoms and alert them to potential cases of Ash Dieback.

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Speaking to TheJournal.ie, Enda Keane, co-founder of the company, said, “more people need to be aware that the disease exists and we want to make sure it is properly dealt with. We can use the public and use technology to do this.”

Some of the symptoms of the disease are breaks in stems, discolouration of shoots and wilting foliage.

Anyone who spots these symptoms is urged to contact the Department of Agriculture. 

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Related: VAT on hurleys to remain at 23% despite ash dieback problems

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