THE Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers' Association is calling for a complete re-think on the controversial issue of the proposed new rules for commonages – an issue which is of particular concern in . Kerry, which has 845 commonages.
"The main sticking point is the idea of collective agreement. The proposals call on all farmers with shares in the commonage - be they active, inactive, or dormant – to come together to agree on what way to meet the total minimum stocking levels. We see this as potentially hugely difficult," said ICSA president Gabriel Gilmartin.
"On some commonages all shareholders are active and work well with each other, and in these cases collective agreement may be possible, but the fact is that in a good number of cases, strained relations between the shareholders will make agreement impossible; there is a strong possibility also that shareholders who previously got on well will fall out over the detail of the proposals. My fear is that active farmers will suffer when inactive and dormant shareholders decide to come back and stock up as a result of the new rules."
Mr Gilmartin said he was even more concerned about the potential for an individual farmer who complies with whatever agreement is reached to be penalised due to the non-compliance of one or more of the other shareholders in a commonage.