There were 6,809 nitrates derogation applications made last year according to a county-by-county breakdown of 2021 applications released by the Department of Agriculture.

The data show that farmers in counties typically associated with dairying had the highest number of applications for last year, with Cork, Tipperary and Kilkenny seeing the most applications.

Counties Dublin, Leitrim and Sligo made the fewest number of applications.

The figures were provided by Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue in response to a question posed by Sinn Féin TD Matt Carthy.

Minister McConalogue stated that administrative checks are still ongoing within the Department to ensure compliance with 2021 nitrates derogation.

The current nitrates action programme granted in March makes provision for farms to be stocked at 250kg N/ha.

However, the 2024 mid-term review of the plan could see the upper stocking rate dropped to 220kg N/ha, should it be determined that water quality has failed to improve.

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