An IFA horticulture delegation met with Minister Simon Coveney and Senator Regina Doherty recently at Sunglow Nurseries, Lusk, Co Dublin.
The IFA worked closely with Senator Doherty last year to progress the issue of peat supply for the Irish horticultural market and this meeting further discussed the issue of peat and wider issues in the horticultural sector.
IFA president Tim Cullinan said it is hypercritical that our horticultural market is reliant on imported peat as a growing medium. Irish growers are under severe pressure and hugely frustrated by the lack of progress on the issue.
In January, the long-awaited final report of the peat working group convened by Minister Malcolm Noonan was published, alongside an action plan to implement these findings. Nothing has happened since these announcements were made.
One of the action points in January was for a report to be published by an independent expert assessing peat stocks, requirements for the Irish sector and to look at potential sub 30ha sites due to be published by the end of July. This cannot be delayed any further.
IFA field vegetable and protected crop vice-chair Martin Flynn said growers want to be fully compliant and to find a solution. As the minister alluded to at the meeting, “food security cannot be jeopardised for climate policy”.
We need political leadership here. We are sick of everyone blaming everyone while small growers and substantial businesses who provide a lot of employment are being put out of business by our Government. It’s a total travesty,” he said.
An IFA delegation led by environment chair Paul O’Brien met senior executives of Cork and Waterford county councils, along with engineers from Atkins Consultants in Fermoy recently, to discuss plans for the proposed Mallow to Dungarvan greenway.
The proposed 74km greenway is set to connect Dungarvan in Waterford to Mallow in Cork and link to the towns and villages of Cappoquin, Lismore, Ballyduff, Clondulane, Fermoy, Ballyhooly and Killavullen. It is proposed it will generally follow the route of the old Dungarvan to Mallow railway line.
O’Brien said the meeting was very useful as the IFA provided the project team with an in-depth outline of the fears and concerns of farmers regarding the proposed greenway and how it could impact very significantly on farmers and their property and businesses.
The project promoters provided the IFA with a full briefing on the project and an update on the current feasibility study taking place.
The project team explained that they are undertaking a concept and feasibility analysis and expect to have a final report by the first quarter of 2023.