Fianna Fáil Agriculture Spokesperson Charlie McConalogue has slammed Ministers Creed and Coveney for refusing to argue for an extension to the slurry spreading deadline for farmers. As of tomorrow, farmers will be breaking rules under the Nitrates Directive if they spread slurry on their land.

Deputy McConalogue said, “The attitude of Ministers Michael Creed and Simon Coveney is deeply disappointing and shows how out of touch with the farming community they have become. This summer saw torrential downpours, particularly in the west of the country, and farmers have been unable to get their slurry spreading completed. It is deeply unfair for them to be penalised for something that is completely out of their control.

“I am urging the Minsters to adopt a common sense approach and follow the lead of their Northern Ireland counterpart. Farmers in the North with “reasonable cause” will be assessed on a case by case basis and may be allowed to continue to spread after the end of the season. It is unacceptable that farmers here are not being afforded the same consideration.

“There needs to be an element of flexibility on this issue. There are farmers who have contacted me who have almost full slurry tanks and who have been unable to spread slurry on their land due to ground conditions.  Many farmers in areas along the west coast and the midlands in particular have had to house cattle in recent weeks and are understandably worried about how they will be able to manage the winter ahead if the Government does not recognise their difficulties.  I cannot understand why the Ministers are refusing to move on this – the deadline has been extended in the past and should be extended in this instance. It is the only sensible solution”.