Minister Must Act Now & Introduce Temporary Suspension on Timber Log Imports

IFA Farm Forestry Chair Jason Fleming said following the finding of the monetary pine bark beetle, the first non-native bark beetle to be found in Ireland, Minister Pippa Hackett must act now and suspend the importation of unprocessed timber while a full review of biosecurity measure is undertaken.

“Farmers have seen the devastation caused by bark beetles elsewhere in Europe, specifically the spruce bark beetle, and are extremely worried that not enough is being done by the Department to protect their forests, particularly when you consider the financial devastation that could be inflicted,” he said.

He said the current biosecurity measures need to be reviewed, as do EU plant health regulations, in order to give Ireland the power to protect our forests.

“Forest pests are becoming more frequent in the forests of Europe; in particular bark and wood boring insects are increasingly significant invasive forest pests. International timber trade facilitates the introduction and spread of species across new areas,” he said.

IFA wrote to Minister Hackett weeks ago calling for the immediate establishment of a bark beetle taskforce to review the biosecurity measures. The lack of a response from the Minister shows that she has not taken on board the mistakes made in relation to ash dieback, and the need for effective and immediate action when it comes to forest pests.

“The focus seems to be on promoting a flawed afforestation programme, rather than doing everything in their power to protect our healthy forests. We need the Minister to act now and set up a bark beetle taskforce as a matter of urgency,” concluded Mr Fleming.

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