Now that Agriculture Minister recognises the difficulties caused by bad weather to Irish Farmers he should re-think Farm Waste Management Deadline – BREEN.

November 7th, 2008 - Pat Breen
Fine Gael’s Deputy Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Clare T.D. Pat Breen has urged the Agriculture Minister Brendan Smith to re-think his refusal to seek approval from Brussels to extend the completion date for works under the Farm Waste Management Scheme. Deputy Breen’s plea follows the recent announcement by the Minister that the period for slurry spreading has been extended to the end of October in response to the bad weather.

“Under the EU nitrates regulations, farmers are banned from spreading slurry between mid-October and January, now eventually Minister Smith has responded and recognised the difficulties that the bad weather has caused. Last summer was one of the wettest in living memory, in August for instance at Shannon Airport 38.44mm of rain fall was recorded in a 60-minute period the highest for any month in the stations 63-year history. This excessive rainfall caused severe flooding and made land unsuitable for slurry spreading.”

“Having put forward the case to Europe to extend the deadline for the spreading of slurry there is no reason why he cannot put forward the case to Agricultural Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel to extend the deadline for completion of works under the Farm Waste Management Scheme on behalf of Irish farmers.”

“The bad weather also played havoc with farmer’s efforts to have works completed under this scheme and many cash strapped farmers are now under intense pressure trying to complete works by the 31st December 2008. It is now those farmers whose investments have been delayed through no fault of their own who are going to pay the price for this Ministers inaction.”

“Many farmers are under severe pressure at present and there is also huge anger and anxiety in the farming community at the severity of the cutbacks announced in Budget 2009. It is not too late to put forward a case to Europe for an extension to complete of works for the Farm Waste Management Scheme and I would appeal to Minister Smith to act immediately.”