Deputy Noel Coonan said he shares concerns expressed by the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association regarding EU officials enforcing tight land parcel eligibility reductions on Tipperary farmers.
“I am concerned regarding the implications of red-lining land and the apparent desire by EU officials to eliminate biodiverse Irish landscapes. Any retrospective penalties will cripple many small and medium-sized Tipperary farmers who should not be punished for their featured landscapes. Unfortunately not all farmers have primary agricultural land and it is regrettable that our Ministers in the Department of Agriculture are targeting this penalty at farmers who must make a living off their marginal land, much of which is prevalent in Tipperary,” said Deputy Coonan.
“The ICSA president Gabriel Gilmartin said the red-lining of land parcels which deems areas ineligible with any level of scrub, trees or other imperfections is driving farmers into a corner and farmers feel the only solution will be to bulldoze, burn or remove any tree, bush, gorse or other species, which does not conform to the new EU fashion that insists on bland wall-to-wall open prairie grazing or arable land.
“I will be raising this issue with Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney as a matter of utmost importance. We need Europe to be less forceful and more understanding. We need to maintain our natural Irish landscapes and not be pushed towards blanket featureless landscapes,” concluded Deputy Coonan.