Roscommon-Galway TD Michael Fitzmaurice is calling upon the Minister for Agriculture to further extend the slurry spreading deadline as the extension previously granted has been lost to recent rain.
According to Deputy Fitzmaurice, immediate action is required for the well-being of Irish farmers. “Conditions are difficult on good farmland. Imagine the challenges faced by farmers on marginal land” said the TD. “The minister has the discretion to further extend the deadline and must act swiftly to relieve farmers of this burden”.
As he stated previously when seeking the extension that was granted, Deputy Fitzmaurice says environmental and safety concerns must be at the forefront: “It’s not only about easing the load on our farmers; it’s about ensuring that slurry spreading doesn’t put our watercourses at risk from run-off.
“By forcing farmers to spread in poor conditions to meet a deadline, even an extended deadline, we are flirting with farmers being blamed for contamination of watercourses, when this is the last thing any responsible farmer wants.
“We have to remember that Ireland has one of the wettest climates in all of Europe, and we need to have the flexibility to adapt to it for the sake of our farmers, agri-contractors and our land”.
For his part, Senator Eugene Murphy, very much welcomed the decision of Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue to extend the legal period for spreading slurry by one week (to October 15th).
He said: “Farmers and contractors in the region are having difficulty with the issue due to the inclement weather this year. Land has been very wet, but with weather not promised too bad for the next ten days or so, there arises an opportunity to spread some of this slurry.
“Following a number of engagements with the minister I am happy to announce that slurry spreading can continue for an extra week”, concluded Senator Murphy.