Brosnan appointment welcomed

Dublin: Farm leaders yesterday welcomed a decision to appoint former Kerry Group boss Denis Brosnan as an independent adviser on the nitrates directive.

They had earlier met with Environment Minister Martin Cullen and Farm Minister Joe Walsh on the drafting of an action programme to implement the directive in Ireland.

IFA president John Dillon said some progress had been made.

ICMSA president Pat O’Rourke said no farmer must be forced to de-stock; farmers must not have to apply for permission to continue with good farming practice; the cost of the measures of compliance must not be imposed on farmers, and the Government has an obligation to restore a degree of certainty to Irish agriculture so that farmers can begin to plan for the future with confidence.

He said he warmly welcomed Mr Brosnan's appointment to overview the Irish submission as his experience and judgment would bring a level of objectivity and expertise to the matter, which would be essential in defending the interest of farmers, particularly dairy farmers.

Mr O’Rourke said it was important that farmers realise that Mr Cullen had stated unambiguously that the 170kg N/ha limit was not up for negotiation.

This translated into the fact that a stocking rate above 0.8 of a livestock unit per acre would not be allowed other than in the circumstances that Mr Cullen refers to as a “derogation.”

Macra na Feirme president Thomas Honner said the Government should postpone the nitrates submission to the EU Commission until further negotiations take place.

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