There will come a point when we won’t have any ash left in Ireland

As ash dieback continues to wipe out ash plantations all over the country, forestry growers are demanding a more co-ordinated response on mitigation and compensation measures

Wipeout: Tony Garahy with one of the dead ash trees on his plantation at Lough Boora Farm, Leabeg, Co. Offaly. Photo: Alf Harvey

A day is coming when ash trees could face extinction in Ireland. That is the shocking prediction of Offaly farmer Tony Garahy, whose plantation became infected with ash dieback late last year.

Mr Garahy began planting trees on his drystock farm at Leabeg, just outside Tullamore, more than 30 years ago, building his plantation acre by acre until he had more than 100 acres under trees.

A lover of native species, he planted a section of his farm with a mixture of ash and rowan about ten years ago, and was devastated in November last when he discover the presence of ash dieback, a chronic fungus disease that has devastated ash plantations across Europe in the last 20 years.