Offaly TD calls for farmers in 'conservation' areas to be compensated
Offaly TD Carol Nolan has called on Josepha Madigan, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, to ensure that compensation for lands permanently designated as Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Special Protected Areas (SPAs) is paid to all affected farmers who had permanent designations imposed on them under the European Directive (1997).
This directive required the Irish State to set aside lands that were considered essential to conservation of flora and fauna. The National Parks and Wildlife (NPWS) designated almost 13% of the land mass which includes large areas of privately owned land, farmers were compensated for agricultural losses caused by the restrictions under the National Farm Plan Scheme (NFPS) up until 2012.
Deputy Nolan said that the losses incurred by farmers are "significant and are estimated by Teagasc to be €200 an acre."
Deputy Nolan recently wrote to Minister Madigan about the issue after been contacted by a number of concerned farming families who have significant portions of their land under permanent designation.
Deputy Nolan said that she was now calling on the Minister to "immediately restore the compensation to farming families" and went on to say that many of these families were "enduring a significant loss of income due to the designation and that this was unacceptable given that these families are already under great financial strain due to high production costs, falling incomes and the uncertainty of Brexit."
Deputy Nolan concluded by saying that Minister Madigan now needs to "take urgent action on this compensation issue which has been ongoing for some time."