Farmers waiting for a Hen Harriers Threat Response Plan to learn how conservation of the bird will affect their lands will not know their fate for some time yet.

An Inter-Departmental Steering Group working on the Plan was established in July 2014 and has met eight times.

But officials of the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs have yet to meet with other key Departments to finalise a draft of the plan, which will be followed by a public consultation, and then screening for Strategic Environmental Assessment and Appropriate Assessment.

Minister Heather Humphreys said substantial work has been carried out in setting out issues around recovery of the hen harrier population, and the concerns and knowledge of landowners and other stakeholders.

She also said the main issues of land use and hen harrier recovery have been investigated and discussed by the Steering Group and with the stakeholder consultative committee, and a report of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine has been taken into account.

She was responding in the Dail to questions from Kerry and Cork North-West TDs Michael Healy-Rae and Michael Moynihan.

Meanwhile, Agriculture Minister Michael Creed has said EU approval is awaited for a Locally-Led agri-environment scheme for preservation of the Hen Harrier.


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