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Tag Archives: hen harrier

New Hen Harrier Scheme

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed has announced that work on the roll-out of the new locally-led Hen Harrier scheme will begin immediately. The minister confirmed his department has signed contracts with the Hen Harrier Project Ltd, representing a consortium of skilled and experienced conservationists, agricultural advisors and environmental scientists, to lead on the design and delivery of the new scheme. The winning team was selected on foot of a competitive tender operated by the department as offering the best approach for this critical new scheme which seeks to save one of Ireland’s most endangered birds. This will be monitored closely in this region, where the Hen Harrier has resulted in restrictions in farming practises for hill famers in parts East Clare and South Galway. Minister Creed said, “I am looking forward to seeing the new scheme in place as soon as possible. This scheme is targeted specifically at farmers with designated land and should provide farmers in …

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Farmers in a flap over ‘worthless’ land

Hundreds of farmers in North East Clare and South Galway are in a flap over the designation of land for the protection of the hen harrier, which has rendered an estimated 9,844 acres “worthless”. Feelings are running high among landowners in the Sliabh Aughty area, which has the dubious distinction of having the largest designation to safeguard this protected species under an EU directive. As a new farming group, Irish Farmers With Designated Land (IFDL) briefed deputies and members of the Oireachtas Agricultural Committee on the difficulties that landowners are experiencing due to this designation at a meeting in Dublin this week, local farmers said they are mounting an intensive campaign for change. Frustration and anger over the Government’s decision to suspend the previous compensation scheme in 2010 due to budgetary constraints, will be voiced at a public meeting in Ballinakill, County Galway on Tuesday next at 8.30pm. Farmers’ efforts to receive adequate compensation for the devaluation of their land …

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Call for re-think on hen harrier protection

ICSA rural development chairman, Billy Gray has called for a complete re-think on how to protect the hen harrier, an endangered bird that is found in the East Clare/South Galway region. Recent extensive gorse fires in the area increased concerns for the long term future of the bird. Mr Gray argues that the Government response to the hen harrier is a denial of reality which will not safeguard the bird but will continue to have a devastating impact on farmers with hen harrier designation. “The GLAS scheme is of some help to farmers with smaller areas of designation, but it is inadequate for many farmers,” said Mr. Gray. “The ban on afforestation needs to be reviewed as there are considerable doubts about whether it is actually warranted or whether a more nuanced approach could yield better results. Most importantly, the Government needs to wake up to the reality that the hen harrier cannot thrive in rural communities if its presence …

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Hen harrier concerns for hill farmers

Following a series of public rallies in the West of Ireland, a new national farming organisation, the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) has been officially established. Since the draft Rural Development Programme was sent to the European Commission on July 3, 2014 by the Departments of Agriculture and broadly endorsed by the farming organisations, a passionate group of hill farmers and those farming designated lands, including farmers with hen harrier sites, have sustained a campaign to make changes to the RDP. The reasons for this was that commonage farmers could access the GLAS scheme as individuals and where Natura lands have been devalued  by designation, that measures would be added to help keep those farms viable. Massive rallies were held in Westport (1,700 farmers), Letterkenny ( 900 farmers), Maam Cross (1,000 farmers) to highlight the unfairness of the proposals in the draft and culminating in a march for fairness by 2,500 farmers in Castlebar.  

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Oireachtas Committee discusses hen harrier

The Oireachtas Joint Committee Agriculture, Food and the Marine agreed of Tuesday evening to progress farmers’ concerns around the designation of Special Conservation Area to protect the hen harrier. In addition to Clare and Galway, there are hen harrier protection areas in Tipperary, Limerick, Cork, Kerry, Laois, Offaly and Monaghan. As part of the process to deal with farmers’ concerns, the committee intends to call officials from the Departments of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht. The committee was meeting with representatives from Irish Farmers with Designated Land (IFDL), who outlined how changes of designation under EU Directives have served to dramatically devalue the land of about 4,000 farmers. Committee chairman, Deputy Andrew Doyle said, “The meeting with IFDL representatives illuminated the difficulties that many farmers have endured in light of the designation of 169,000 hectares of land to protect the hen harrier. The committee heard that farming and the hen harrier have coexisted for …

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