Confirmation from Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy that he has no plans to extend the slurry spreading deadline to Wednesday, October 30, has been met with disappointment by independent TD Mattie McGrath, who deemed it “an unnecessary frustration for farmers”.

The Tipperary TD had made a representation to the minister yesterday in view of recent adverse weather conditions, following “a significant number of calls on the matter” to his office.

Minister Murphy responded to the parliamentary question, stating: “While acknowledging the challenging weather conditions experienced during certain periods this year, including in recent weeks, I do not have any plans to make changes to the slurry spreading deadline.

However, I will continue to keep this matter under review in consultation with the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Commenting on the response, deputy McGrath said: “I cannot see why a derogation or degree of flexibility cannot be introduced with respect to an issue that clearly affects so many farmers.

“The minister says that the land application of fertiliser, including slurry, is not allowed in Ireland after the closed season commences on October 15.”

The deputy highlighted that such a flexibility was granted in 2017 and 2018 when the deadline for chemical fertiliser was extended from mid September until the end of September, and the deadline for the application of organic manures also extended from mid October to the end of October.

I will be appealing once again to both ministers to demonstrate a degree of flexibility in order to allow farmers who need the required breathing space in terms of deadlines.

“Given that farmers have had a particularly bad year, this is one measure that can be introduced that will generate immediate relief.

“For that reason alone the minister needs to reconsider his reply,” concluded deputy McGrath.