INHFA seeks clarity on future Eligibility of Drumkeeran lands.

The Department of Agriculture Food & the Marine (DAFM) has this week announced a compensation package for farmers affected by the Shass Mountain landslide at Drumkeerin. County Leitrim

Commenting on the scheme, Leitrim INHFA National Council Representative Patsy Daly expressed concern regarding the inequitable nature of the level of support being offered to farmers within the scheme saying “it seems unfair that one farmer with two hectares gets €20,000 while another farmer with four hectares also gets €20,000.” He also pointed out that “while the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) welcome the provision of compensation, “we are unable to recommend a scheme which requires applicants to accept that the affected lands will no longer be eligible for future CAP payments.”

Following representations from INHFA, a commitment has been given by senior DAFM officers and advisors to Minister McConalogue that clarity would be sought from the European Commission, as to whether the Drumkeeran lands can be considered eligible for CAP payments and schemes in 2023.

A number of questions are being drafted around the agricultural area status of the lands. The questions are seeking to clarify if the EU Commission’s interpretation of agricultural activity allows farmers to manage lands in an environmentally positive way through the provision of public goods and thus qualify for CAP payments.

“In this regard”, Daly added “an INHFA delegation will use meetings with the EU Commission in Brussels next Tuesday to press the absolute necessity of the affected lands being made eligible for CAP payments.

He concluded by saying that “otherwise affected farmers would never again be able to derive any income from these lands and that is simply not acceptable.”