‘Minister must deliver for farmers with imposed designations’

Minister for Heritage, Heather Humphreys, must deliver for farmers who have designations imposed on their land in the upcoming budget.

This was what IFA (Irish Farmers’ Association) SAC (Special Area of Conservation) Project Chairman Padraic Joyce had to say on the re-opening of the National Parks and Wildlife Farm Plan Scheme.

Speaking ahead of a meeting with the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), which is due to take place on tomorrow (Thursday, August 24), Joyce said that the minister has to reverse cuts that were imposed in 2010.

These cuts were brought in when the NPWS Farm Plan Scheme was abolished, including the removal of the option for renewal for farmers who were in the scheme at the time and who have since concluded their five-year contracts.

The chairman said the schemes existed in the Shannon callows, hen harrier areas, hill areas and other designated areas throughout the country until 2010. He added that these schemes must now be restored and it is up to the minister to deliver on this.

These schemes are necessary as earlier agreements with government had accepted the principle that where restrictions to farming and other developments were imposed, compensation would be paid.

The IFA has said that it continues to insist that there can be no designations without compensation.

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