Urgent Policy Actions to Safeguard and Enhance Commonage Lands
Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Agriculture, Senator Brian Ó Domhanill, has called on the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine in conjunction with the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht to fully implement all of the recommendations contained in the Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine report in relation to commonage lands.
Senator Ó Domhnaill said; “The Ministers should fully implement all of the recommendations in the report which was prepared by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine.”
“The report has been compiled by our committee after widespread consultation with the farming community and interested stakeholders. I was very pleased to have played a role in this process which proves a much more workable alternative that the totally unworkable and unfair proposals which were suggested by the National Parks and Wildlife Service in conjunction with the Department of Agriculture in late 2012.”
“The recommendations contained in the report which is aimed at providing a roadmap for policymakers to safeguard and enhance commonages, drawing on a current best practice of successful management of these lands.”
“The Committee has argued against a one-size fits all solutions, noting that each management scheme must be based on and address the unique characteristics of individual commonages. The committee has also called for commonage lands to be more clearly defined and that studies be undertaken to assess the impact of dormancy and changing farming methods on the management of commonages.”
“The Report entitled The Review of Commonage Lands and Framework Management Plans was launched in Leinster House today and intended to provide a timely review of the most recent recommendations from National Parks and Wildlife Service at the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.”
“Other recommendations in the report include;
- The management of commonages be promoted through output-driven schemes that take careful account of the insights and requirements of those who own and/or manage commonages. The Burren Life Programme is recommended as an output-driven scheme that has provided considerable environmental, agricultural, social and economic benefits in a way that appears to be efficient and effective.
- Compensation over and above the Single Farm Payment be paid to farmers to meet Department de-stocking requirements on them. The report urges the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine to design schemes in conjunction with or in addition to existing REPS/AEOS schemes.
- That provision be made to extend dates for controlled burning and to return them to the dates which operated in Ireland prior to the Wildlife Act 2000, particularly in upland areas, as a means to improve the management of commonages.
“The Committee met on seven occasions in recent months to consider the NPWS recommendations, which were cause of concern to many stakeholders. Representatives from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the National Parks and Wildlife Service, farmers’ representative bodies, Teagasc, conservation and interest groups, and individual farmers fed into the debates.”
“There are almost over 2,300 commonage farmers in Donegal and if these proposals are acted on by the Government it would see these farmers receiving a top up payment in addition to the Single Farm Payment.”
“I would recommend that the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht consider the findings and recommendations of this report.”
Posted: Jul 17, 2013 | Categories: Uncategorized