Deputy Michael Healy Rae TD has said that Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has failed Irish farmers when negotiating with the EU on extending Ireland’s derogation from parts of the nitrates directive. As a result, up to as many as four thousand farmers will be obliged to cull their herds following the Government’s failure to get an extension to the derogation.
“When the January 2026 cut off deadline kicks in many farmers will be obliged to cull their herds. In fact, many farmers will have to cut back from 3 cows per hectare to 2 cows per hectare making many farms financially less viable. While others will have to take on the expensive option of finding more land”
Ireland’s current derogation is due to expire on January 1, 2026, with the derogation limit due to reduce to 220kg/ha from 250kg/ha on January 1, 2024, in certain areas. Negotiations had been ongoing, but the European Commission indicated last Wednesday that Ireland’s nitrates derogation limits will be cut to the lower level.
“The Minister has simply failed Irish farmers on the most important stage of all. He left the EU Commissioner for the Environment, Mr Virginijus Sinkevičius simply brush him aside and as a result by not reviewing the decision diary farmers will have to reduce their herd sizes within the next four months or spend hundreds of thousands looking for land scrambling to comply with the new rules, which are set to change on January 1.
“Farmers have had many bad days but under this Government, it has been body blow after body blow. The most disappointing aspect of the whole thing is that no regard was taken for the measures farmers have already taken to improve water quality.” Deputy Michael Healy Rae concluded.