IFA Environment Chairman Thomas Cooney has acknowledged the important role that farming plays in protecting and enhancing Ireland’s environment. Responding to today’s water quality report, he supports previous comments by the EPA, which recognises that the failure to treat waste water properly continues to damage our rivers and costal waters.
Thomas Cooney said, “Raw sewage from the equivalent of 88,000 people in 38 towns and villages is still flowing into our rivers and streams across the country. Unlike diffuse pollution which is sometimes attributed to agriculture, this point source pollution from ineffective wastewater treatment plants is known, identifiable and can be resolved. Addressing this would greatly assist our compliance with water regulations and improve water quality.”
Regarding agriculture, Thomas Cooney has welcomed the recently established water quality advisory service operated by Teagasc, with Government and dairy co-op support. “Everyone has a role to play when it comes to protecting and enhancing our natural resources. This innovative advisory service has the potential to collaboratively work with the farming community and address water quality challenges, while creating wider community awareness of the value of good water quality.”
Concluding he said, “Overall water quality in Ireland is good by European standards and farmers, supported by Government policy, have played their part in delivering on this. Farm schemes such as the Green Low-Carbon Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS) is focused on improving water quality. Almost 50% of the measures in this programme are aimed at improving water quality and over 40% of farmers are in GLAS. Farmers have also invested over €2bn bringing farmyards to the highest environmental standards.”