THE “unnecessary and punitive” measures proposed for inclusion in the revised programme for administering the Nitrates Directive arise from Irish Government and not from European Union requirements.
Independent MEP Marian Harkin made the claim when highlighting what she described as the threat posed to the €500 million poultry and pig industries by the measures.
She said the present derogation which permits the spreading of organic poultry and pig fertiliser takes full account of environmental requirements and as such must be maintained.
The additional demands of ministers Brendan Smith and John Gormley will do nothing for the environment but could sound the economic death-knell of the poultry and pig industries in Cavan, Monaghan and Longford.
“If there was an environmental imperative to meet the requirements of the Water Framework Directive, the argument of producers would be considerably weaker.
“However, there is clear evidence of improvement of Ireland’s ground and surface waters and indeed the proof exists the major problems in this regard derive from municipal discharges as evidenced in the publication of the country’s River Basin programmes,” she said.
Ms Harkin called on Minister Smith to rise to the challenge of defending the poultry and pig sectors and the 14,000 jobs involved.
“The Government continuously stresses the value of the ‘smart’ economy and if this is to apply to the food producing sector, ‘smart’ action is urgently needed by taking Teagasc advice and continue the present system of manure spreading.
“A further four-year derogation will provide the time necessary to research and conclude a long term protocol which will provide the security necessary for this €500m business,” she said.
* The following blight warning has been issued by Met Éireann: Weather conducive to the spread of potato blight will continue over the next few days.
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