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Minister Doyle Launches ‘Don’t Risk it’ Plant Health Awareness Campaign at Bloom

Speaking today at the opening of Bloom, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine (DAFM), Andrew Doyle, officially launched his Department’s “Don’t Risk it!” plant health awareness raising campaign.

Minister Doyle said:

I am delighted to launch this new plant health awareness raising initiative by my Department here at Bloom.  My Department is committed to the protection of Ireland’s horticulture industry and wider environment from exotic pests and diseases.  These diseases and pests if they become established could cause untold damage to plant and tree health in our country.   The aim of the “Don’t Risk It!” campaign is to raise awareness around the importance of plant health and how the public can play a part in protecting it. I believe that Bloom is the perfect platform to launch this strategy and I would encourage you to visit Department staff at our stand here and engage with them on this topic.

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is promoting a “Don’t Risk it!” awareness raising campaign targeted at travellers, tourists and commercial businesses who are bringing plants, plant products and other high risk items made of plant material into Ireland from abroad.  This campaign is fully endorsed by the European Plant Protection Organisation (EPPO) and the European Commission via revised plant health legislation.  One of the pathways of plant harmful organisms entering Ireland is through people bringing plants or plant products into the country which contain these pests/diseases. 

The objective of the campaign is to highlight the social, environmental and economic impact of bringing in infected plant material or quarantine pests and diseases into Ireland.  These impacts can be enormous, e.g. Xylella fastidiosa is a new disease for Europe, which effects over 200 plant species such as Oak, Beech, Ash, Rosemary and Lavender.  It is found in parts of Italy, France and Spain.  It is essential both from an economic and environmental perspective that diseases such as this are prevented from becoming established here.  

Minister Doyle concluded

I believe that this campaign will generate greater awareness among the general public of this serious issues and that “people will think twice and decide when abroad, not to risk it but instead leave all plants and plant products in that country.”  I encourage people to visit my Department’s website where more information is available.