Hen harrier issue needs to be resolved says TD
CORK North West TD Michael Creed has urged the incoming Minister for Arts Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphries, to urgently engage with Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney to finally seek a resolution to the difficulties being faced by farmers in areas designated as Special Protection Areas for the preservation of the hen harrier.
Farmers whose lands have been designated Special Protection Areas are extremely restricted when it comes to development activity and commercial farming. In a recent interview, one farmer in Ballydesmond told The Corkman his land was virtually 'worthless' after being designated SPA.
"Farm families throughout the country, through no fault of their own, are being denied the opportunity to earn a livelihood from their land due to the State's obligation to meet habitat preservation directives from the EU. These farm families have been in limbo since the suspension of a compensation scheme in 2010," said Deputy Creed.
"The appointment of a new minister provides the perfect opportunity to add new momentum for finding a suitable resolution for the farm families involved. It is important that Minister Humphries engages with this issue as a matter of priority".
However, Deputy Creed suggestions that the issue can be resolved in the context of GLAS (green, low carbon agri-environment scheme) fall short of what is required.
"The restrictions on farmers in these SPA's cannot be compared to the obligations on farmers in the rest of the Country to meet the terms of GLAS. Furthermore, the payment available under GLAS is not adequate to compensate farmers in SPA's for the curtailment of their activities and earning capabilities," he said.