TD Mattie McGrath Calls For The Taoiseach To Seek Two Year Extension For The Nitrates Derogation

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Tipperary TD and Rural Independent Group leader, Mattie McGrath is calling on the Taoiseach to seek a two year extension of the nitrates derogation when he meets with EU Environment Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius. Deputy McGrath says the extension is needed as 2,096 farmers are facing the imminent risk of culling cows, starting January 1st as the EU is to reduce Ireland’s limit from 240 to 220 kg nitrates per hectare from January 1st due to unsatisfactory water quality results.

Deputy McGrath says the extension is needed to allow changes already implemented to deliver results on water quality and to protect the impact on food production. 345 farmers in county Tipperary are faced with altering their operations to comply with the lower limit by either reducing livestock numbers or acquiring additional land based on data supplied by the Department of Agriculture.  The Commissioner is to visit Ireland tomorrow and is unlikely to agree to any extension of the derogation – Denmark and the Netherlands also operate on the 220kg/limit while all other EU countries have a 170kg/hectare limit. The Commissioner had previously said that the Irish Government can put in place measures to help farmers deal with excess manure and aim to buffer the economic impacts faced by farmers.