Current bird conservation status denying island farmers ‘realistic’ Glas payment.
Sligo News File Online
The ICSA has taken up the case of farmers on Sherkin whose Glas
entitlements are affected by the omission of the island as an area of conservation under the EU Wild Birds Directive
Sherkin and Cape Clear, islands lying South West of Cork, are among places of the country in which the presence of the Clough, a rare bird species, has been recorded.
However, says West Cork Chairman of the Association, Dermot Kelleher, farmers on the island are faced with the “bizarre” situation where Cape Clear is designated as a Chough area for the purpose of the Glas Scheme, whilst Sherkin, “which is literally only a stone’s throw away, is not.”
“This means that Sherkin farmers cannot get a realistic payment out of GLAS and ICSA wants to see this situation rectified,” said Mr. Kelleher, after he visited the island with a delegation of ICSA representatives, including the association’s General Secretary, Eddie Punch.
The organisation’s rural development chairman Seamus Sherlock said that he would be seeking a commitment from the incoming Minister for Agriculture to re-examine the anomaly. “While designation is usually a matter for the NPWS and the Minister in charge of it, we understand that the Minister for Agriculture had the ability to rectify the situation for Cape Clear in terms of GLAS. However, this discretion was not exercised in favour of Sherkin which ICSA believes is very unfair.”
ICSA also held discussions with the Sherkin farmers, led by Sean O’Neill and Martin O’Driscoll on the issue of unfair overclaim deductions under the LPIS review. Mr. Sherlock said, “It is essential to understand that these farmers face huge challenges and are doing a great job in keeping farming going on the island, and it is outrageous that they are being penalised rather than getting support from the state.”