Written Answers. - Plant Disease Eradication.

Nora Owen

Ceist:

16 Mrs. Owen asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry the measures, if any, he is taking to prevent the spread of the vine weevil; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Frances Fitzgerald

Ceist:

54 Ms F. Fitzgerald asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry the measures, if any, he is taking to prevent the spread of the vine weevil; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Vine weevil (Otiorrhynchus sulcatus) is established and widespread in this country for years. The question of eradicating it would be entirely impracticable. The range of plants it attacks are soft fruit plantations, primulas, rhododendron, azaleas and some pot plants. Crops can be grown successfully where control measures are operated to prevent a heavy build up of the pest. A range of agro-chemicals are available for this purpose and there is also a natural predator available commercially for controlling the pest.

Under a new EC Directive which is to come into effect from the end of this year, it will be mandatory that certain host plants of the vine weevil which are being marketed for replanting shall be examined and found free of the weevil.

The advisory services of Teagasc should be contacted by any grower who has particular problems with vine weevil.