Minister for Heritage Malcolm Noonan has confirmed to the IFA that there are no plans for further land designations.

The IFA said the Minister gave a “clear and unequivocal commitment” that there are no plans for more land designations at an online meeting on Wednesday.

Cullinan said: “I welcome this clear and unequivocal commitment from the Minister and will be holding all parties to account on this.

“Where designations exist at the moment, the compensation in place is insufficient.”

Commenting on the Life Nature Project for parts of the west and northwest, IFA hill chair Flor McCarthy said: “Farmers must be allowed to stock their land to its potential – any State land purchases by NPWS [National Parks and Wildlife Service] to increase national parks will not be accepted.”

The IFA has said it is opposed to any suggestion of destocking sheep in hill areas, as it will impact heavily on the livelihoods of farmers and will lead to further economic decline in areas that are already struggling.

Budget 2021

Cullinan continued: “Current payment arrangements under locally-led or the NPWS scheme are totally inadequate as they don’t address the fundamental issue of loss of income and the devaluation of land values.”

“We will be demanding a proper consultation on any projects that are taking place in natura areas such as the Life Nature Project in blanket bog areas in the west and northwest and the rewetting of bogs as part of the Just Transition Programme on raised midland bogs.”

The IFA has said it will be seeking a substantial increase in the allocation to the NPWS Farm Plan scheme in the budget next month.

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