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General view of an Ash tree suspected of being infected with the deadly plant pathogen fungus Chalara fraxinea dieback in Forncett End, Norfolk, England. Carol Sharp/Eye Ubiquitous/Press Association Images

Further restrictions on ash imports imposed as disease continues to spread

The new legislation adds restrictions to the countries from which it can be imported while also impacting its movement and export within Ireland.

LEGISLATION TO RESTRICT the importation of ash into Ireland has been introduced in order to try to reduce the further spread of chalara ash dieback disease.

The restrictions will only allow ash to be imported from areas which are known to be free of the disease, where the wood has been kiln dried or where it has had its outer bark removed.

The disease is caused by the fungal pathogen Chalara fraxinea which, the department warns, “can affect ash trees of any age and in any setting.”

The announcement was made by the Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Shane McEntee TD, who hopes that the new measures will still allow for an adequate level of imports.

Coillte, who provide the majority of ash which is produced domestically, are now set to harvest their ash early in order to help prevent a shortfall.

Over 70 per cent of the ash that is used in the production of hurleys in Ireland is imported.

McEntee said that the legislation “introduces strong legal measures for wood combined with the measures brought in last month for plants.” He went on to say:

While I understand plants are the highest risk in terms of a pathway for the disease, wood is also a risk and I was particularly concerned with high risk unprocessed wood such as firewood entering the country from infected areas.

The UK is set to hold crisis talks today in their attempts to combat the spread of the disease, according to Sky News, who say that around 30 per cent of its woods are comprised of ash trees.

The movement of Ash within Ireland and when exporting is also restricted, with a “plant passport” now being required.

Those who are affected by this are urged to contact the Department of Agriculture immediately.

Read: Ban on ash tree imports as fungus hits Ireland >

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