It looks like there may be some relief for upland farmers, especially around Silvermines, under the latest amendments to the CAP Rural Development Plan.
The amendments, which addressed a number of issues of concern to farmers, have been welcomed by ICMSA.
According to Pat Rohan chairp of ICMSA's Farm and Rural Affairs Committee, there are - and continue to be - many anomalies and gaps in the Irish CAP Rural Development Plan, but it was encouraging to see a number of these had been dealt with in the latest amendments.
“We’re particularly satisfied to see the amendment in relation to hen harrier areas on which we lobbied for so long,” he said.
Mr Rohan said the approval of a scheme for these farmers was welcome but it was essential that this scheme made a practical and real difference for the farmers in question.
“These farmers - very many in Mid Tipp - have been very shabbily treated, with their land being effectively sterilised and made value-less, so the new scheme needs to make a very real difference for the farmers concerned,” he said.
Developing or improving a farm in these areas had been effectively stopped with all the implications that has for the next generation of farmers and we needed to move to a situation where the farmers in these areas were given a chance of earning a living from their own farms, said Mr Rohan
“Up to this point, their ability to earn an income has been wiped out and this has to change”, said the ICMSA chair.
“The amendments are a step in the right direction, but other amendments are required - most notably the provision of underpasses under TAMS and also an environmental scheme that is relevant to intensive farmers – and we’ll continue to work to achieving those and building on the progress that these amendments just announced undoubtedly represent,” said Mr Rohan.