Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Brendan Smith has called on the Agriculture Minister to ensure that the slurry spreading deadline is extended beyond the 15th October. Farmers across Cavan and Monaghan have been badly affected by heavy rain over the summer months and have been unable to get their slurry spreading completed.
Deputy Smith explained, “I am extremely concerned that Government Ministers don’t fully appreciate the seriousness of this situation. Earlier this week Minister Damien English appeared to rule out the extension of the deadline, forcing farm families into financial uncertainty. Farmers in Cavan and Monaghan have had not enough time to recover from this summer’s downpours, with much of the land still waterlogged, and they have been unable to get their slurry spreading completed.
“The Nitrates Directive is an important law to prevent pollution, but it should not penalise farmers who have been unable to spread slurry because of a particularly harsh summer. There needs to be an element of flexibility – the deadline has been extended before and it should be again.
“Farms in Northern Ireland have been given an exemption once they can provide a reasonable explanation for it – it makes no sense that neighbouring farms, just because they are south of the border, are being prevented from doing the same. The Minister must act to ensure that these farmers are not unfairly treated.
“In some cases livestock has had to be housed for the better part of the summer and opportunities to spread slurry were extremely limited by poor ground conditions, leaving farmers facing the October 15th deadline with full tanks. I am urging Minister Creed to impress upon Minister Coveney the importance of a deadline extension for these farmers”.