Fears are growing for the future viability of one of Ireland’s largest tree nurseries, near New Inn, Cashel, Co. Tipperary after storm Ophelia wreaked havoc on hundreds of young trees, devastating crops.
John Murphy is the owner of Annaveigh Plants New Inn near Cashel, and has tree and garden crops planted across 82 acres of land. John, Grainne Murphy and Trevor Landers have a combined 80 years experience in the horticultural business, but their entire operation is now in danger after Storm Ophelia flattened up to 10,000 plants.
John told national media that they used bamboo canes to support the growth of the younger trees, but it could take at least six months to repair the damage caused, which he estimates will run into hundreds of thousands of euro.
The business employs around 20 people, and Mr Murphy is still assessing how the damage may impact on those jobs at the centre. The nursery has been awarded many accolades including two Irish Nursery of the Year awards and is an accredited member of The An Bord Bia Horticultural Quality Assurance Scheme.
The company has supplied trees, shrubs and plants to some of the biggest landscape garden centres, and markets in Germany and the Netherlands, along with numerous County Councils and local authorities, but the business will be hugely affected by the high winds of Storm Ophelia.
Speaking on RTÉ’s News at One, Gráinne Murphy, Director of Annaveigh Plants New Inn, said: "In many areas the trees were broken in half. In the case of some of the species we've lost up to 60% of the trees.
"It will require significant labour input, we're talking in the hundreds of thousands to sort the whole thing out, when we work out the losses and the trees that are now un-saleable.
"In addition to that we had many pre-booked orders for these trees and we've had to disappoint our customers,” said Ms Murphy.