Sinn Féin spokesperson for Agriculture, Claire Kerrane TD has called on Minister McConalogue to clarify whether farmers will be able to cut turf on commonage lands if they are participating in the new Agri Climate Rural Environment Scheme (ACRES).
Currently, the rules are unclear on whether farmers participating in the scheme can continue to cut turf on commonage, causing significant concern.
Teachta Kerrane recently queried the issue with the Minister. In response, Minister McConalogue stated that he will ‘examine’ the impact of turf cutting on commonage on farmer payments under ACRES. However, no update has been provided to date.
Speaking today, Teachta Kerrane said:
“I have raised the potential impact of turf cutting on commonage on farm payments under ACRES with the Minister.
“The issue has come to light recently and presents a significant issue with regard to the rules farmers must comply with under the scheme.
“I have been contacted by concerned farmers in my constituency and beyond, who are worried that they cannot cut turf on commonage under ACRES rules, and that doing so could affect their payments.
“Minister McConalogue stated that he will look at this issue however, it is important that he confirms that turf cutting on commonage is allowed under ACRES as soon as possible. Farmers still do not know if they will be penalised for cutting turf or not and the turf cutting season is already well underway.
“This lack of assurance only serves to cause stress and uncertainty for farmers participating in schemes. It is crucial the Minister provides clarity and certainly without delay.”