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Ash Dieback’s threat to Hurley – MEP Kelly hosts Limerick seminar

Published: Fri, 08 July 2016

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The threat posed by the Ash Dieback disease to Ash trees needed to make Hurley sticks will top the agenda of a unique Limerick seminar hosted by Seán Kelly MEP today (Friday). Mr Kelly will be joined by other speakers including the Minister of State for Food, Forestry and Horticulture, Andrew Doyle TD and leading Hurley maker, John Torpey.

The Ireland South MEP will stress the importance of effective management and cooperation between national governments, responsible authorities and the EU to address the threat posed by Ash Dieback.

“Around 115 cases of Ash Dieback were recorded across 19 counties in Ireland by January 2016, according to Department of Agriculture findings. While a study by tree ecologists at Keele University in the UK, published in the Journal of Ecology earlier this year also warned that ash dieback and the emerald ash borer posed a serious risk for European Ash trees.

“Ash Dieback spores can be transported by the breeze as far as 10 miles in distance and can survive on woodland ground for up to five years. We need more research into this plant disease to ensure healthy Ash trees can survive which will ultimately secure the future of the Hurley stick,” MEP Kelly said, ahead of today’s seminar at Munster GAA in Limerick (12 noon – 2pm).

Department of Agriculture research up to January 2016 suggests there are currently 115 plantations with positive samples of Ash Dieback over 19 counties: Carlow; Cavan; Clare; Cork; Galway; Kildare; Kilkenny; Leitrim; Limerick; Longford; Mayo; Meath; Roscommon; Sligo; Tipperary; Waterford; Westmeath; Wexford; and Wicklow.

Last year, Ireland and the UK both gave detailed presentations to the European Commission outlining action taken to date and future plans to counter Ash Dieback.

“Solidarity and cooperation is required to tackle Ash Dieback. In sharing experiences, all countries are better able to assess methods that may help prevent the spread of plant diseases.

“That’s also my aim today here in Limerick, bringing people together from the EU policy-making sphere, the Irish government, Coillte, people with agricultural backgrounds and those in industry that are dependent on Ash trees.

“Ash Dieback is an issue that needs greater focus in my view and I hope today’s seminar launches further discussion and measures to tackle it as best we can,” added Mr Kelly, a former GAA President.

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