A fungus from Europe is threatening the trees used to make hurleys, the stick used in the GAA game hurling. A disease called ash dieback is sweeping through the forests of Poland and Denmark and has now been discovered in Ireland.
The Irish Sun reports that the decimation of the ash tree means that hurley manufacturers are running out of usable wood. They have said that their reserve stocks of wood have been depleted and now they are unable to import fresh wood due to the outbreak of this fungus and regulations introduced by the Department of Agriculture.
John Torpey, one of Ireland’s leading manufacturers, from County Clare, said “This is having a massive impact. All hurley makers are in the same position, we need the ash and we can’t get it.
“We can only import from a country who can certify wood is disease free. That’s impossible right now.”
Ireland needs 350,000 hurleys a year to supply the increasingly popular sport.
Minister of State Shane McEntee told the Sunday Independent, “This is a very aggressive disease in ash trees and we must do everything possible to keep it out and it is for these reasons that new legal measures are now in place.”
So far 34,000 young ash trees have been destroyed in County Leitrim this month. The Ash Dieback disease has killed 90 percent of Denmark’s ash population.