IFA Deputy President + Countryside spokesman Eddie Downey has strongly criticised the NRA and County Councils for their failure to control the rampant spread of ragwort and other noxious weeds on public roads and said “they must face prosecution if they do not clean up their act”.
Eddie Downey said, “The incidence of ragwort and other noxious weeds along many roadside verges and medians has reached epidemic proportions. This is the result of the persistent failure of the relevant authorities to take their responsibilities seriously and manage these poisonous weeds, as they are required to do under the Noxious Weeds Act.”
He stressed that the failure of the NRA and County Councils to control noxious weeds means their seeds infect neighbouring farmland. “Ragwort in particular is poisonous to livestock and creates significant difficulties for farmers in managing grasslands and making silage.”
“The NRA has produced detailed procedures for the management of noxious weeds, yet the evidence is there for all to see that they are openly flouting their own guidelines. Many County Councils are just as bad. The law is not being taken seriously. It’s time for the Gardai and Department of Agriculture to step in and enforce the law against the NRA and local authorities.”
The IFA Deputy President pointed out that farmers also have a responsibility to control noxious weeds on their own land and they face penalties under cross-compliance if they fail to do so.
“It is not good enough that farmers can face penalties for not keeping their land in good environmental and agricultural condition, while some public authorities can avoid any responsibility for flouting the law. The NRA and county councils must clean up road-side verges and eliminate noxious weeds or face prosecution.”