The efforts of farmers in Mid Cork and throughout Ireland to support the 2019 hen harrier breeding season have been recognised by Agriculture Minister Michael Creed who this week announced that they would be paid almost €500,000 for their work.
Last year was a very successful one for hen harriers - the 56 confirmed pairs in the six Special Protection Areas (SPAs) reared at least 81 chicks. This was the highest number for 14 years. The gains were most pronounced in Kerry where one pair raised an almost unprecedented five chicks.
In the mid Cork designated area, between Mullach an Ois and Musheramore, two pairs succeeded in raising one chick each.
This payment, which comes on top of the annual scheme payment for farmers, is a dividend payment rewarding hen harrier presence and success on the farmer's land last year.
The Hen Harrier Programme is a €25m scheme from the Department as part of Ireland's Rural Development Programme.
''This Hen Harrier scheme is a key biodiversity measure from my Department and has gone from strength to strength," said Minister Creed.
"More than 1,500 participant farmers are helping to conserve this beautiful bird for generations to come.
"Last year's successful breeding season comes after a lot of hard work by many stakeholders and it is fitting that we are rewarding this during National Biodiversity Week."
The purpose of the programme is to pilot new approaches to farming for conservation with farmers being paid for improving the natural habitat to deliver defined environmental objectives. The Hen Harrier Programme invests with farmers in actions that can support the delivery of quality habitats. Over €3m in habitat payments have been paid to farmers over the last six months.