ICMSA President John Comer told Minister Creed that retention of the Nitrates Derogation for farming is a national priority.

An ICMSA delegation has met Ministers Coveney and Creed as part of what the ICMSA President John Comer has described as “the national priority that is the retention of Ireland’s derogation under the EU’s Nitrates Directive”.   

Mr Comer was speaking after last Friday’s meeting, at which his organisation set out the four key areas that he said should be addressed as part of the overall review of the current regulations.

The four areas identified by ICMSA were, firstly, the retention of the derogation – something that Mr Comer described as a vital national interest – secondly, adjustment of the various P indexes, thirdly, some sensible amendment of the Calendar Farming schedule that would permit sensible slurry spreading during the closed period depending upon weather conditions, field capacity and soil temperature.

The Ministers were also urged to review completely the range and size of the penalties levied on farmers deemed to have infringed the regulations, which are currently penal and exorbitant, according to the farm organisation.

“In 2015, Nitrate administrative penalties resulted in financial penalties of almost €1.9m on Irish farmers, ICMSA believes that the objectives of the regulations can be achieved without the imposition of such penalties and the Department undertook to review this issue”, said Mr Comer

Mr Comer said that the retention of the Derogation must be a national priority and the scientific evidence at our disposal backs up ICMSA’s call for its retention.