IFA president Tim Cullinan has called on the Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue to carry out a proper study on the water quality trends used to determine whether Ireland’s nitrates derogation is cut.

Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal at Moorepark on Tuesday, he said that there is an opportunity between now and September, when the European Commission will decide on the derogation, for “proper data” to be sent to the Commission.

“What’s more concerning for us is that farmers had adopted a lot of new measures at the start of 2023. All of those measures are obviously going to take time to filter through the system.

“What we’re saying is the minister needs to go back now and do a full reassessment of this, because we all know the consequences of this. For the average farmer with between 80 and 100 cows, the implications here could be anything from 15 to 20 cows per year.”


Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal from Brussels where the ICMSA is meeting with the European Commission’s DG Agri and DG Environment, Pat McCormack said that it was becoming impossible to believe that the Government was rolling out policy in good faith or had even the semblance of a workable plan for the dairy sector.

“We introduce measures and then don’t even wait to see whether they work or not before introducing the next round of measures,” the ICMSA president said.

“We need to press pause to see whether existing or recently introduced measures are working before we just dump another round of limitations on an already highly regulated sector.

“We have to stop making policy ‘on the hoof’ and at the loud insistence of ideologues and start looking at the data and predictions.

“Whatever happened to letting the science give us the answer?”