Farmers of Hen Harrier designated lands who have suffered significant land devaluation must be compensated to avoid land abandonment, TDs have urged.
The Irish Farmers with Designated Land Group (IFDL) appeared before the Joint Agricultural Committee to campaign for compensation for land that devalued as a result of designation to protect the hen harrier. The group are campaigning for a statuary payment of €350/ha to be issued to them on annual basis.
Speaking before the committee IFDL president Jason Fitzgerald said that farmers of designated land have been “devastated by land devaluation” and that currently designated lands are earning significantly less income than land with forestry.
Fianna Fail TD Jackie Cahill said the EU and the Irish state has a “moral obligation” to compensate farmers who have incurred land devaluation and added that the current €25m Hen Harrier scheme introduced by the Department of Agriculture will do “nothing” to alleviate farmers.
“We need to bring in a scheme that will increase the value of that land, the new scheme will do nothing, it is only putting a sticking plaster on a sharp cut. We will see land abandonment and vast tracks of lands devalued,” said Mr Cahill
“There is a moral obligation on the EU to compensate farmers. What has been done to the farm families in that area is inexcusable.”
Fianna Fail’s Charlie McConalogue also added that a compensation scheme needs to be introduced:
“This has to be a real issue and one in which the EU and Ireland seeks to have the situation that has come to pass redressed. There’s no doubt this designation has reduced the value of the land and there is an onus that you are compensated.”
Head of the Hen Harrier project, Fergal Monaghan said this week: “At present 1,250 farmers have applied for the Hen Harrier Scheme and we are happy with its progress.”
Dairy Farm Profiles
Farming on the edge of Banna Strand in North Kerry has not deterred Peter Kennelly from having a huge input into the activities of the Irish Holstein Friesian Association (IHFA) nationwide over the last four decades.