Tirlán launched a major environmental initiative for the River Slaney catchment on Wednesday.

The river flows through counties Wicklow, Carlow and Wexford - an intensive farming area.

The new programme, called Farming for Water: River Slaney Project, will involve State agencies Teagasc and LAWPRO, the local authorities water programme.

Carlow, Wexford and Wicklow county councils will also be stakeholders, with ifac also a programme partner. While farmers will be the focal point of the project, the wider community along the river catchment will also be involved.

The programme aims to transform the Slaney catchment from one described as “of concern” by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), with over 40% of the land free-draining “critical source areas”.

Key areas

With advisers working with individual farmers along the river’s course and catchment, three key areas will be prioritised.

The first is nitrogen use efficiency, with the timing, volume and accuracy of fertiliser application a focus.

The second is slurry storage, with identification of necessary slurry storage capacity and support for the development of a financial plan to cover building costs.

The third focus area is related to improving the profitability and efficiency of dairy farms through maximising milk solids, which can help improve the environmental footprint of the milk produced on the farm and the impact of that production on the river.

Tirlán’s own living proof sustainability programme will also feature across the scheme, which will be closely aligned with the €60m national Living for Water Environmental Innovation Programme announced last year.


Tirlán chair John Murphy said the River Slaney is the lifeblood of the southeast and is a crucially important river catchment.

"In turn, as custodians of the land, we take our responsibility seriously to ensure our actions work to preserve and enhance our local environment, for the economic and environmental benefit of all.

“Working together, as part of a collaborative project, we believe that we can make a difference and enhance water quality.

"We want to ensure that Tirlán, alongside our farmers, do everything we can and make the best possible case for Ireland to successfully retain the nitrates derogation into 2026 and beyond.

"We believe that the River Slaney project will show that it is possible to farm at current levels and maintain good water quality.”

Tirlán CEO Jim Bergin added that Tirlán advisers will be working closely with suppliers as part of the new farm support service to create individual tailored plans and provide advice on efficient nutrient use, on-farm productivity and assessing farmyard and infrastructure issues.