June 4, 2021
DAFM approach to Wild Bird Cover verging on begrudging – Matt Carthy TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture Matt Carthy TD has said that the Department of Agriculture approach to Wild Bird Cover rules is verging on begrudging by forcing farmers to apply for individual extensions rather than simply providing a blanket extension in recognition of the recent inclement weather.

In response to a parliamentary question, the department has indicated that individual farmers can request an extension by emailing [email protected].

Teachta Carthy said:

“Having called on the Minister last week to facilitate an extension I welcome that there is now a facility for farmers participating in the GLAS scheme, and applying Wild Bird Cover actions, to receive an extension.

“However, that each farmer has to apply individually is an approach that verges on begrudging.  In my initial call for an extension, I commented on the frustration that farmers endure when the department leaves announcements on flexibilities to the last minute.

“I did not think for a second that, as well as the late announcement, the department would require each farmer to contact them individually.

“In 2018, Department of Agriculture Circular 05/2018 informed all farm advisors that the deadline was extended until the middle of the month.  Such an approach would have been warranted on this occasion, at a minimum it could have been done on a regional or county basis.

“Nobody disputes that the department needs to set deadlines for schemes.  But, there will often be a need for flexibility, particularly when circumstances beyond human control such as the weather are important factors.  

“When such instances arise the department should deliver the necessary flexibility without the begrudging approach we have seen in this instance.”

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