Pictured marking the 175th anniversary of the birth of Michael Cusack by planting an ash tree outside the cottage at the Michael Cusack Centre in Carron, County Clare, L-R: Cllr. Ann Norton (Leas Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council), Larry McCarthy (Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael), Dónal Ó hAiniféin (Chair of the Board of Michael Cusack Centre), Brother Sean McNamara (author and expert on Michael Cusack) and Tim Madden (Manager, Michael Cusack Centre). Photograph Eamon Ward

CALLS TO REPLENISH dead trees in Ennis and Barefield have been labelled as “premature” until further research is completed.

Cllr Ann Norton (IND) called on the Ennis Municipal District to contact Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) asking that ash trees which have died due to ash dieback be replenished along the M18 and for the Ennis MD to do likewise in Barefield while making arrangements to “appropriately dispose of the dead ones”.

Ash dieback is a disease which affects the common ash tree (Fraxinus excelsior), it was first identified in Ireland in 2012.

Senior executive technician with the Ennis MD, Tommy Scott explained, “the disease will cause most of the ash trees in the country to die over the coming years. Across Europe where this disease has been widespread for a longer time, a small percentage of the trees have proven to be naturally disease tolerant”.

He said Teagasc are working with counterparts across Europe researching the development of disease tolerant trees “from which it is hoped future Ash trees will be grown. Until this critical research and development work is complete it will not be possible to replenish the Ash trees lost to the disease therefore this request is premature”.

Ash dieback has proven to be very prevalent across Mid-Clare, Cllr Norton stated. “I would be looking for the trees to be replenished, obviously it doesn’t have to be ash but if there was another appropriate tree that would grow and have a long life expectancy it would be great to see, it is in so many areas around the Municipal District”.

Despite the response from the local authority, she felt it was still right to contact TII asking them to assess areas where trees had died due to ash dieback .

Seconding the proposal, Cllr Mary Howard (FG) reminded the meeting she tabled a similar proposal in recent years, “it became apparent to us all then”. She believed it was important to replant a native Irish species. “Ash has traditionally been used for making hurleys as we know, hurley manufactures are now looking at bambú because their supply has been impacted”.

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