Farm Ireland

Friday 23 February 2018

Hen harrier crux will cost €12m says Hogan

Hen Harrier
Hen Harrier
Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

Farmers with lands included as special protection areas (SPAs) are preparing to ramp up the pressure against the Government to tackle the issue of their now "almost worthless" lands.

The Irish Farmers with Designated Land (IFDL) chairman Jason Fitzgerald said the group are now working with Michael Cronin from AgriFood Business Partners to seek adequate compensation for up to 4,000 landowners.

In addition, Mr Fitzgerald said a number of farmers have lodged appeals after they suffered Single Farm Payment fines as some of their hen harrier designated land does not meet the strict good agricultural practice criteria.

"There are a lot of farmers with their cases under appeal at the moment," he said. It comes after Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan told an Oireachtas Committee the issue of single farm payment liability is an issue for the Agriculture Department. "It will cost approximately €12m to resolve the issue," said Mr Hogan.

"If we were in private session, I might say more about how we should resolve it. It is included in tier one of GLAS but that is not enough in terms of what people were seeking."

Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney said a risk assessment of the designation was underway and after it is completed they would be able to examine the compensation mechanisms," he said.

Mr Cronin said farmers were being very badly impacted and the extra €2,000 in GLAS on top of the €5,000 available to all farmers was "totally inadequate". He said they would be trying to work with the key Government departments on the issue.

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