THE designation of land throughout the country continues to impose severe restrictions on farming and is leading to the sterilisation of vast areas of land, particularly in the west of Ireland.
That is according to IFA President John Bryan who was speaking last week at a meeting in Clifden of Connemara farmers.
That is and area where areas have recently been proposed as Special Protection Areas (SPA) by the Government. The closure of REPS 4, the NPWS Farm Plan Scheme and the diluted AEOS scheme has resulted in some farmers having little or no compensation scheme available to them.
The IFA President said the areas such as Connemara have suffered from designation over the past 15 years where farming has suffered through destocking of sheep and major development have been either restricted or curtailed.
Mr Bryan said that there is now an opportunity to ease the restrictions through the review of the Commonage Framework Plans and farmers must be allowed increase numbers to a sustainable level to avail of improved market condition in the sheep meat sector.
Concluding, the IFA President highlighted the importance of direct payments to areas such as Connemara. “Schemes such as REPS/AEOS, Disadvantaged Areas and Single Farm Payment play a crucial role in sustaining farming in marginal areas. The challenge now for the Government is to protect these payments for all farmers in the forthcoming national Budget and in future CAP Post 2013 negotiations.”