Ours To Protect with John Morley (EP 42)

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Ours to Protect is a unique and exciting audio project – a collaboration of local and regional broadcasters from across the country who have come together to tackle climate change, champion climate action, and inform and educate audiences all over Ireland about how they can make a difference.

Today on ‘Ours To Protect’ John Morley talks to Katie Smirnova of Hedgerows Ireland about their letter to the Minister calling for action to stop the spread of Fireblight.

Did you know…

  • Fireblight is a highly contagious bacterial disease that wreaks havoc on members of the Rosaceae family, particularly those that produce pome fruits.
  • Fireblight is a serious concern for Ireland, particularly for the horticulture and agriculture sectors.
  • The temperate climate of Ireland is very suitable for the bacteria that causes fireblight, Erwinia amylovora. Fireblight can also enter through infected plant imports, which is a concern as highlighted by recent discussions on importing hawthorn for hedgerow planting.

Why is it important stop the spread of fireblight?

  • Fireblight can be incredibly destructive to apple, pear, and quince orchards, which are important agricultural industries in Ireland
  • As previously stated, fireblight poses a threat to native plants like hawthorn, a vital component of hedgerows that provide habitat for wildlife and contribute to biodiversity.
  • Fireblight leaves a scorched appearance on infected plants, making them visually unpleasant. This can be a concern for homeowners, public gardens, and landscapes.

What can I do help stop the spread of fireblight?

  • Learning the signs of fireblight is important. The early signs can include blackened leaves, wilted shoots and shepherd’s crook branches.
  • Be wary of importing plants, particularly hawthorn, from areas with established fireblight. These plants could be carrying the bacteria.
  • Regularly inspect your plants for signs of fireblight. If you suspect an infection, don’t try to treat it yourself. Report it immediately to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM).

Here’s a few websites if you want to know more!

Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM):


Teagasc – Agriculture and food development authority


Hedgerows Ireland has some more information on fireblight


For more info go over to galwaybayfm.ie, click on Our to Protect image on home page. You could try out the  ‘Ecological Footprint’ calculator and you can take a quick survey.

‘Ours To Protect’ brought to you by Galway Bay fm, the IBI and funded by Coimisiún na Meán with the television licence fee – check out ‘ours to protect.ie for more info.

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