IFA Hill Committee Chairman Tom Fadian has said that farmers in hill areas in Connemara and West Mayo have had their deal with the Government reneged upon by the Environment Minister John Gormley.
Mr. Fadian said that 600 farmers in the Maumturks, Twelve Bens area of Connemara and the Nephin range in Co. Mayo entered into a 5 year deal with the Government to increase destocking levels and enter into a very strict farming regime to enhance the SAC and commonage areas.
However, Mr. Fadian said that some of the farmers now have no compensation scheme in place to offset the income loss from destocked sheep as their REPS 3 plans have been completed since last May and they have no alternative compensation scheme available.
The IFA Hill Chairman said the environmental agreements for both areas stated that farmers had a choice of REPS or the NPWS Farm Plan Scheme. With REPS and its replacement closed, farmers should be able to choose the NPWS Farm Plan Scheme, which Mr. Gormley has now denied.
Mr. Fadian warned Minister Gormley that farmers would not tolerate a strict and intensive farming regime without compensation.
Farmers in these areas have already lost out in 2010 on the destocked sheep as the income from sheep has improved. IFA has stated that the loss for destocked sheep is €45/head and the stricter grazing regimes in Connemara and West Mayo adds a further €20/ewe to this.
The IFA Hill Chairman said a solution must be found that ensures no farmer who is forced to destock by environmental requirements is at an income loss.