Chalara has hit ash woodlands throughout Ireland planted with imported ash trees. The disease has also hit Counties Leitrim and Tipperary in hedgerows associated with imported ash sites.
Hayes said: "Since Chalara was first identified north and south in late 2012 we have sought to coordinate our efforts and share our experience in order to bring about the best possible outcome. This approach culminated in the launch of the All Ireland Chalara Control Strategy in July 2013. We continue to implement this strategy and see it as an important contributor in addressing the threat posed by chalara on the island of Ireland."
O’Neill added: "My department is committed to enhancing tree and plant health on an all-Ireland basis and since the launch of the All-Ireland Chalara Control Strategy in July last year, Minister Hayes and I have been working hard through the North South Ministerial Council to encourage co-operation on the island to enhance plant health status, to respond to tree and plant disease outbreaks and to share knowledge and experience.
"This is an objective that Minister Hayes and I share and I welcome the opportunity that this conference provides to enable us to learn more about the Chalara ash dieback, the experience of this disease in Ireland, Britain and the Continent. I hope that this provides a better understanding of the challenges we face and how best we can prepare for the future."
In the Republic, there have been 120 confirmed findings, 47 in forests.