The Department of Agriculture has confirmed 82 cases of ash dieback disease in Ireland.

All the cases are in trees that were imported from continental and none were found in native ash trees.

Ash dieback or chalara fraxinea was first noticed in forestry in Poland in 1992.

Since then it spread rapidly across Europe and is now found in 19 countries.

The first confirmed case in Ireland was seen in Co Leitrim last October.

The Department’s Forestry Inspectorate maintains the increase in cases to 82 in six months is not evidence the disease is spreading, but rather a result of the close ongoing surveillance of the ash population.

Ash dieback is generally fatal to young ash trees and can also kill mature trees.

The symptoms include blackening or browning of leaves, dieback of stems and development of diamond shaped elongated bark lesions.

It spreads in the wild during the summer months when spores are released from infected ash leaves.

While there has been no case in native ash trees so far, the risk of spread remains.

The department and Teagasc are organising a series of talks for forestry owners between now and the end of the month to alert them to the symptoms and explain how to deal with infected trees.

Anyone that suspects a tree may be infected can email details and photos to or phone the Department of Agriculture on 01-6072651.