DEAR EDITOR: You made reference to the ash dieback taskforce in the Irish Farmers Journal of 1 June (heated exchanges at ash dieback taskforce).

Two forestry grower organisations, the IFO group and the LTWO group, were present with Department of Agriculture officials. Both of these groups have a vested interest in pressing for financial support for their forests. Even so, it appears the IFO signed up to the terms of reference of the taskforce – by its own words, “under duress”. If it had a problem with the terms laid down, it should not have signed up to it.

As a farmer in Sligo, not a forest owner, I watch the hedges daily as all of the ash in them is in an advanced state of decay. On our farm alone, there’s possibly 1,000 ash trees. Every other farm here is in a similar position.

By the way, each farm I speak about is less than 100ac. I have raised this problem with the local IFA. Why is our problem being avoided like it doesn’t exist? The ash dieback problem extends far beyond the well-documented financial losses of forest owners.

I would suggest the area of dieback in hedges exceeds by far the total area of all their forests combined. Surely people need to wake up and look for a comprehensive solution acceptable to everybody. Unfortunately, in the same week of the taskforce meeting for what was described as a ‘rubber-stamping exercise’, we learn that the Government is so far off meeting the greenhouse gas emissions targets they signed up to that we will have to pay €1bn per year as penalties for missing those targets.

I wonder how much carbon potential will be lost from the ash in these hedges I speak about?