The Chairperson of the ICMSA’s Farm and Rural Affairs Committee, Pat Rohan, has stated that Leitrim farmers on designated land are being treated with contempt by the Government and its agencies.
The ICMSA chairperson said that responsibility is being shifted from one Department to the other with farmers’ land effectively sterilised and those impacted losing money on a daily basis as a consequence.
Speaking after the recent meeting of the Designated Areas Monitoring Committee, Mr Rohan said the Government and its agencies seem to have settled on a policy that involves designating land while totally ignoring the rights of the individual landowner.
He added farmers are also not being properly compensated for for the losses resulting from the severe restrictions.
"The Government could forever avoid the stark choice this policy involved", he said, "they must either address landowners’ concerns equitably and fairly or they must lift the designation.
“Thousands of farmers in every county in Ireland have found their farms designated for a variety of reasons that could include birds, raised bogs, pearl mussels and been subjected to a series of ongoing broken promises and empty assurances from the National Parks and Wildlife Services and Government Ministers.
"Farmers on designated land are subject to many severe restrictions on their farming activities - including an effective ban on afforestation. The net effect is that potential to earn an income from this land has been effectively wiped out coupled with the fact that the land is completely devalued as a result of the designation with many normal farm practices effectively banned. The farmers concerned are being treated with contempt - there is no other word for it," said Mr Rohan
He concluded by saying that the relevant Government Ministers must address this issue as a matter of urgency on grounds of simple fairness and justice.
He said that the time for empty assurances and expressions of understanding was past and it was time to move to a solution.