Speaking at the National Rural Networks conference in Athlone on Friday, Fintan O’Brien from the Department of Agriculture said it is now at a stage where it can begin the tendering process for project management teams for the €35m locally led hen harrier and pearl mussel schemes.

“We will make the appointment by the end of the year and then farmers can be recruited to participate in 2017,” O’Brien said. “Any farmers looking to join one of these schemes, for the hen harrier in particular, should be in GLAS and then join the locally led scheme after that to deal with specific actions on your farm.”