The NI Agriculture Minister has strengthened emergency legislation to curb the spread of a fungus that destroys ash trees.

Michelle O’Neill moved to reassure manufacturers, including those who make hurley sticks, that ash could still be imported.

“This new legislation means that from today, ash can only be imported under certain technical conditions as set out in the Order,” she said.

“There are regular imports of ash logs for manufacturing purposes, mainly hurley sticks, and for fire wood. As a potential pathway for the disease, it is an unacceptable risk.”