IFA’s Environment Chairman Thomas Cooney has called for State agencies such as Inland Fisheries Ireland to work with farmers in the ongoing efforts to safeguard our aquatic environment.
Speaking as the Association prepares it submission to the Department of Local Government’s future water planning consultation, Thomas Cooney said, “The plethora of agencies that duplicate the water monitoring and evaluation roles must end. Agencies such as the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Local Government, local authorities, the EPA and Inland Fisheries Ireland must work with farmers to develop a better balance between enforcement activities and supporting long-term compliance”.
He added, “Strong enforcement may make headlines, but the reality is it reduces farm incomes and fails to build community capacity to understand why the water quality issues arose firstly and then the corrective actions required to make long-term changes”.
He restated his call on Inland Fisheries Ireland to better advise and inform the farming community, by publishing national maps of spawning grounds and ensure that farmers are fully aware of them.
Finally, he commended the significant investment by the farming sector in improving the rural environment. “Farmers have spent over €2bn in ensuring that farm-yards and building are at the highest environmental standards. This has been supported by a similar spend by the State. In addition to this over 27,000 of farm plastics are collected and recycled by farm families each year. The investment is making a difference, with Ireland’s water quality amongst the top 25% in Europe.”