IFA SAC Project Chairman Padraic Joyce has said that the Minister for Heritage, Heather Humphreys must ensure the commitment given by the National Parks and Wildlife Service to review previous agreements on the designation of land is meaningful and backed up with funding in the upcoming Budget, with the re-opening of the NPWS Farm Plan Scheme.
Speaking following a meeting with NPWS at the Designated Monitoring Committee in Dublin today (Thurs), Padraic Joyce said that the Minister must reverse cuts that were imposed in 2010 when the NPWS Farm Plan Scheme was abolished. The Farm Plan scheme was an integral part of the process of designation but this scheme has been closed off to farmers since 2010.
Padraic Joyce said schemes existed in the Shannon callows, hen harrier areas, hill areas, and other designated areas throughout the country until 2010. He said these schemes must now be restored and it is up to the Minister to deliver on this.
“These schemes are necessary as earlier agreements with Government had accepted the principle that where restrictions to farming and other developments were imposed, compensation would be paid,” Padraic Joyce said.
IFA continues to insist that there can be no designations without compensation and an opportunity now exists to revisit this vital issue. The onus is on the Minister to ensure these discussions, which will commence in October, deal with the major concerns that farmers have with designated land which represents about 13% of the land area of Ireland an area of nearly 1m ha.