IFA Hill Committee Chairman Flor McCarthy has welcomed the payment of bonuses for the Hen Harrier scheme.
“This acknowledges the commitment of farmers to the scheme, which is having a positive impact in the Special Protection Areas,” he said.
Flor McCarthy said the €25m scheme, which is available up to 2023, is a key support for farmers with designated land.
However, more needs to be done to deal with the restrictions imposed by the EU Habitats directive in SAC and SPA Natura areas.
“NPWS must develop a compensation scheme that reflects the restrictions imposed by designations. For instance, forestry is not allowed in these areas, reducing income options for farmers. This has led to land devaluation, which is not in any way recognised by schemes such as GLAS or the locally-led schemes. This must be addressed by the incoming Government,” Flor McCarthy said.