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Independent.ie

Sunday 24 March 2019

Hen harrier scheme takes flight amid renewed farmer concerns

The charismatic hen harrier
The charismatic hen harrier

The newly opened €25m hen harrier scheme must now deliver on the ground for the farmers impacted, the ICMSA has warned.

After a lengthy wait for the programme to open, the ICMSA's Patrick Rohan said farmers have seen their land effectively sterilised by an EU designation.

"It is important to note that many outstanding issues remain in relation to the hen harrier designation," said Mr Rohan.

The IFA's Pat Dunne also stressed that with 4,000 farmers impacted that it must deliver for farmers.

Agriculture Minister Michael Creed said the scheme was now open for application with €25m in funding under the Rural Development Programme.

Mr Creed said the opinions and feedback from 500 farmers were incorporated into the programme administered by a team under the leadership of Fergal Monaghan.

He pointed out it was about creating sustainable farming systems for both farmers and the birds.

There are three ways to be paid under the programme, with one including a habitat payment based on the project team judging the foraging and nesting values of the land and allotting points.

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Secondly, there will be an annual payment for supporting actions from the second year of the scheme.

Thirdly, a hen harrier payment which is capped at €1,000 or €50/ha if the farm is within a defined distance of a nest or winter roost.


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