Hill Farming Reports

Hill Farming Council Report November 2021

Comhairle na Tuaithe

  • A pilot insurance policy for 2 Mountain Access Project areas has been launched by Comhairle na Tuaithe.
    • The policy commenced on August 13th and it is initially a two-year pilot.
    • The Pilot Insurance policy covers 1) Ben Sleibhe, Co Galway and 2) MacGillycuddy Reeks, Co. Kerry.
  • IFA is insisting that the insurance / indemnification be extended to include all walking access areas and that cover for all farmers is in place without further delay.  Farmer can’t be expected to carry the risk which is causing stress and anxiety.
  • IFA continually raise management of dogs in the countryside with Comhairle na Tuaithe.
  • IFA continues to participate in the National Outdoor Recreation Strategy which is currently being developed by Comhairle na Tuaithe in conjunction with the Department of Rural and Community Development. 

Walk Scheme

  • Following IFA pressure, the Minister for Rural & Community Development, Heather Humphry’s has announced that 31 new trails have been added in 13 counties as part of an extension which was secured by IFA in the Budget.
  • There are now 80 trails under the scheme, which is operated by the Department of Rural and Community Development in conjunction with the Local Development Companies and over 2,400 farmers and landowners
  • This brings the total number of trails on the scheme to 80.
  • Following calls from IFA, additional funding has been provided to Local Development Companies that deliver schemes locally, as well as for the salaries paid to Rural Recreation Officers. 
  • 8 new Rural Recreation Officer posts have been created to further enhance our outdoor amenities, bringing the total number of RRO’s to 21. 
  • Indicative areas for the new RRO positions include; 
    • North Kerry 
    • Louth 
    • Waterford 
    • The Islands 
    • West Cork (additional post given large number of existing participants on the scheme)
    • Remainder of Cork 
    • Limerick 
    • Cavan and surrounding areas

Additional Walking trails:

 CountyLDCName Est. Length of Trail (km)Est. No. of Land holders
1CavanBreffni IntegratedThe Cavan Way2611
2CorkWest Cork Development CoSlí Gaeltacht Mhuscraí  5016
3GalwayForum ConnemaraLuibin Garumna/ Sli Chonamara99
4GalwayForum ConnemaraLuibin Maighros57
5GalwayForum ConnemaraSeanbothar525
6KerryNEWKDDingle Way17880
7KerryNEWKDNorth Kerry Way4810
8KerryNEWKDGlanageenty Loops (3 looped walks)19.53
9KerrySouth Kerry Dev P/shipBolus Loop/Skellig Way13.64
10KerrySouth Kerry Dev P/shipPound & Knockeenawaddra Loop711
11KerrySouth Kerry Dev P/shipCaher Marsh3.97
12KerrySouth Kerry Dev P/shipEmlagh Loop – Reenroe Cliff Walk1010
13KerrySouth Kerry Dev P/shipKeel Uphill Downhill Loop137
14KilkennyKilkenny LDCSouth Leinster Way10428
15KilkennyKilkenny LDCBrandon Hill199
16LaoisLaois Partnership CompanyDurrow Leafy Loop233
17LeitrimLeitrim Integrated Dev CoArroo Trail4.2318
18LimerickBallyhoura DevelopmentBallyhoura Way8917
19LimerickBallyhoura DevelopmentSlieveragh Loop102
20LimerickBallyhoura DevelopmentMolanna Loop Walk1315
21LimerickBallyhoura DevelopmentDarragh Hills Loop103
22LimerickBallyhoura DevelopmentAttychrann Loop52
23LimerickBallyhoura DevelopmentGlounreagh Loop walk62
24LimerickBallyhoura DevelopmentParadise Hill132
25LouthLouth Leader PartnershipSlieve Foy Loop (6 looped walks)4632
26RoscommonRoscommon Integrated Dev CoLung/Lough Gara Way38.29
27SligoCo. Sligo Leader Partnership Aughris Head Trail3.24
28SligoCo. Sligo Leader Partnership Lung Lough Gara Walk309
29WaterfordWaterford Leader PartnershipSt. Declan’s Way11545
30WaterfordWaterford Leader PartnershipAnne Valley Walk513
31WicklowCounty Wicklow PartnershipWicklow Uplands Way8.84

Designated Land

  • IFA again is insisting that there must be no new designations. 
  • Payment rates need to reflect the restrictions imposed on farmers due to the designation.
  • The NPWS Farm Plan Scheme opened for new applications in March and closed on Friday 09 April 2021. 
  • 119 plans went through to the next stage to have schemes designed.
  • IFA insists that the scheme should also be reopened to include all farmers who are farming on land which is designated
  • Budget ’22 allocated €120 million to conserve and manage Ireland’s heritage.  Specific allocations are not outlined, nevertheless farmers will benefit through delivery of conservation projects under LIFE and other funding instruments. Also included is an expanded NPWS Farm Plan programme, bog restoration and conservation of protected peatlands, including raised bog compensation schemes
  • IFA Hill Committee continues to participate in the Designated Areas Monitoring Committee. 


  • At a recent meeting with the Department IFA got clarification that GLAS 1,2 & 3 and EIP’s will be rolled over for 2022 and there would be no extra costs imposed on farmers including planning costs in commonage areas.
  • The proposed new agri-environment scheme set to be the successor of GLAS is proposed to have two options under the scheme, a General option and a Co-operation Project option
  • The Co-operation Project option will be available to farmers in eight defined high priority geographical areas, who opt to undertake standard measures, as well as bespoke farm, landscape and river catchment measures. Farmers participating in this option will have the assistance of a Local Cooperation Project Team, who will assist with implementation of the scheme at local level.  The general option will be open to farmers not in the eight co-operative areas above.
  • IFA insist that the funding for the Local Project Team involved in the running of the co-operative option part of the scheme must not come from CAP and leakage of funds must not be allowed.  The minister will be judged on the percentage of money going to farmers.


  • IFA got a commitment from DAFM that if a farmer has evidence or a sworn affidavit that they did not burn the land the land themselves, penalties would be waved.
  • DAFM claim the scarred area is still ineligible for payment 
  • IFA insists that farmers whose land was burned but not by themselves in the spring on or after March 1st must not be penalised either with a penalty or have area classified as ineligible due to the burning when it is clearly eligible again before the BPS application date. 
  • There are a number of reviews and appeals pending.  This will be monitored closely over the coming months.

Upcoming Events

Meeting with NPWS – November 2021

Comhairle na Tuithe meeting – November 25th 2021

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