Business Farming

Monday 26 September 2016

Island farmers in GLAS bird plea

Published 27/04/2016 | 02:30

Pictured, l-r: Dermot Kelleher and Donie Kelleher (ICSA); Martin O’Driscoll, Sherkin Island farmer; Seamus Sherlock (ICSA); and Sean O’Neill, Sherkin Island farmer
Pictured, l-r: Dermot Kelleher and Donie Kelleher (ICSA); Martin O’Driscoll, Sherkin Island farmer; Seamus Sherlock (ICSA); and Sean O’Neill, Sherkin Island farmer

Farmers braving the elements on Sherkin Island are calling for their coastal enclave to be declared a special habitat for birds.

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Island farmer Sean O'Neill is one of a number of farmers losing out on payments under the agri-environment scheme GLAS as they are not designated a home for the Chough species of birds.

However, they point out Cape Clear island - which lies just 6km away and can be seen from Sherkin - is declared a special protection area for birds and farmers there can apply for €365/ha per annum payments.

The ICSA's Seamus Sherlock said it would make a huge difference for farmers on the island if they could access the conservation payment.

Last year the online GLAS system was updated to recognise Cape Clear as Chough habitat.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service provided advice on the most important areas for particular habitats and species under GLAS.

However, a spokeswoman said the "targeting of areas for GLAS" was ultimately a matter for the Agriculture Department. It stated that past surveys showed there were no more than two pairs of Chough on Sherkin.

However, it stated the NPWS will be undertaking new surveys on the island this spring and summer.

"NPWS will communicate the findings of this survey, to the DAFM for DAFM to decide on whether to target GLAS payments towards the island."

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