It has come to my attention over the past week that a day of meetings took place in the West of Ireland recently attended by a senior Department of Agriculture official and several inspectors who were undergoing training with regard to the eligibility of commonage, mountain and other marginal land land for grant payments.It is my information that a lot of land will be wiped off the map if the proposals I have heard about from that meeting are accepted. For example wettsih land that can be accessed by sheep but not by cattle would be ruled out for any grants and the whole area of mountain land and commonage is in the firing line now.. This is a totally unacceptable situation if my information is correct.
“If the proposals that I have heard about are accepted then a lot of land will be ineligible in the future. For example areas of mountain land that has not been eaten could be ruled out and anyone who knows about this type of land will know that destocking on a lot of these lands took place under the direction of the Department a long time ago. There are serious implications in these proposals for land that is ‘water vulnerable”
TThe Department need to make a statement to clear up this situation as there is a threat to a lot of marginal land after the proposals allegedly made at this training day for inspectors in the West. I am calling also for the farming organisations to step up to the plate on this issue and closely monitor this situation and I will be raising this matter with the Department and the Minister at my earliest opportunity.