Forest owners led by the Limerick and Tipperary Woodland Owners Ltd. (LTWO) gathered outside Leinster House today (Wednesday, May 29), to demand action from government on ash dieback.

Chair of the LTWO, Simon White said affected forest owners are “fed up” and that the recently announced €79.5 million package for farmers and landowners impacted by the disease is “not acceptable”.

Minister for Agriculture, Food the Marine, Charlie McConalogue and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) have “continuously” treated forest owners affected by ash dieback with “complete disrespect”, White said.

“Confidence in forestry and private landowners is gone because it has been mismanaged by the department. Every issues has been dealt with unfairly, inadequately, and what we are asking for is people to be dealt with fairly,” he said.

Ash dieback protest

Speaking to Agriland, the LTWO chair addressed the potential of trees when it comes to climate change. “We need to get young people into planting trees, because nothing can do the job better than trees,” he said.

LTWO protest outside Leinster House

White believes a “small investment” by the government to tackle ash dieback will “pay back hugely” because Ireland is going to face “enormous fines” for missing its planting targets “every year for the last ten years”.

“We are the people who want to plant, we have a load of people who would plant, but under the terms and conditions that are being forced upon us, nobody is interested. They are walking away.

“Why would you plant, replace these trees with conifers when you know there is a bark beetle around the corner that they are not going to do anything about and if it comes in, it will wipe out your new plantation,” he said.

The Great Spruce Bark beetle, which is the primary bark beetle of concern to Ireland, has not been found here and biosecurity measures are in place for the importation of plants and plant products, Minister McConalogue recently said.


Under the Reconstitution Ash Dieback Scheme 2023-2027, owners of ash forest will receive €2,000/ha for site clearance and between €3,858/ha and €8,555/ha for replanting, depending on the chosen forest type.

A Climate Action Performance Payment (CAPP) of €5,000/ha will be paid to grant-aided ash forest owners who either have or will clear the ash and replant through one of the DAFM’s ash dieback reconstitution schemes.

Announcing the CAPP payment, Minister of State with responsibility for land use and biodiversity, Pippa Hackett said she was “determined” to bring forward an action plan that address the concerns of farmers and landowners affected by the disease.

The action plan also addresses the recommendations of the independent review on ash dieback commissioned last year, and states that the DAFM “recognises” that ash dieback “requires urgent action”.

“There is currently a strong forestry contractor base that is organised, equipped, trained,
and experienced to tackle the work of dealing with ash dieback,” the DAFM said. The CAPP brings the total ash dieback financial package to €237 million.

New plantings of 457ha have been approved so far in May 2024. In order to achieve the government’s annual planting target of 8,000ha set under the Climate Action Plan, the DAFM would need to issues licences for 667ha per month.