A TD has claimed in the Dáil that he is stunned that the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue has treated the issue of a compensation package as if it was “politically toxic”

This comes after the “refusal by the Minister McConalogue to even reference a potential compensation package for farmers impacted by the incoming nitrates reduction measures”.

Independent Cork TD, Michel Collins added that shockwaves of alarm will ripple through the country, particularly in Cork.

Deputy Collins strongly urged the minister to give details of a compensation package to farmers who will have to cull in-calf heifers in order to drastically reduce nitrates usage.

Speaking in the Dail, Deputy Collins said that the minister “spoke instead about grant aid for slurry transfers, but surely to goodness he can see that farmers need that in addition to a compensation package”?

“Every day I get calls and text messages from frantic farmers who fear they will lose tens of thousands of euro in animal stock because of these insane new nitrates limits.”

According to Deputy Collins, the “minister and indeed his Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael colleagues must know by now that in Co. Cork, there are 434 holdings that will be massively affected by the reduced Nitrates Derogation stocking rate upper limit in 2024”.

“It is time for the minister to wake up to the carnage these proposals are creating and to introduce a comprehensive compensation package in line with expected losses,” the independent TD said.

Right now, Ireland’s derogation permits the use of up to 250kg N/ha on derogation farms, but it is set to expire.

The current derogation is due to expire on January 1, 2026, and the limit is due to drop to 220kg N/ha on January 1, 2024 in certain areas, because the latest water quality results have not shown sufficient improvement.