Ministers Creed and Coveney have been slammed for refusing to argue for an extension to the slurry spreading deadline for farmers by Charlie McConalogue, Fianna Fail’s Agriculture Spokesperson.

McConalogue’s statement comes following a meeting of the Government’s Agriculture Committee yesterday, where it was agreed that Minister Creed would be written to about the deadline, in the hope of an extension.

The Ministers’ failure to extend slurry deadline shows how out of touch they are with situation facing farmers, he said.

As of tomorrow, October 15, farmers will be breaking rules under the Nitrates Directive if they spread slurry on their land.

“This summer saw torrential downpours, particularly in the west of the country, and farmers have been unable to get their slurry spreading completed.

“It is deeply unfair for them to be penalised for something that is completely out of their control.

“I am urging the Minsters to adopt a common sense approach and follow the lead of their Northern Ireland counterpart.”

Farmers in the North with ‘reasonable cause’ will be assessed on a case by case basis and may be allowed to continue to spread after the end of the season, he said.

It is unacceptable that farmers here are not being afforded the same consideration and there needs to be an element of flexibility on this issue.

McConalogue said that there are farmers who have contacted him who have almost full slurry tanks and who have been unable to spread slurry on their land due to ground conditions.

“Many farmers in areas along the west coast and the midlands in particular have had to house cattle in recent weeks and are understandably worried about how they will be able to manage the winter ahead if the Government does not recognise their difficulties.

“I cannot understand why the Ministers are refusing to move on this – the deadline has been extended in the past and should be extended in this instance. It is the only sensible solution,” he said.