DEAR EDITOR: Through Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) and Special Protection Area (SPA) designations, successive Irish Government agencies have been responsible for commandeering as much - or maybe more - land in the 21st century than was planted by British conquest in the 17th century.

There was no consultation or compensation given when farmers’ land was included in an SAC and now designated land is valued at about 10% of the value of similar land outside of an SAC.

There are still no payments made to owners who suffer this devaluation. Added to that is the grabbing of carbon credits on private forestry plantations by Government agencies without compensation.

The Government’s stance on this is very dubious and would probably not stand up to a legal challenge, as farmers committed to putting their land into forestry ad infinitum in exchange for a preliminary 20 years of subsidy payments and all income from the resulting timber crop.

Marginal areas

Most of the lands affected are in the poorer marginal land areas and are owned by farmers with very low incomes, so have not got the resources to take a legal challenge.

Now, these same farmers, and more, are in danger of having their lands designated for wetting and there is not any suggestion from the Government that payments will be made to farms that are wetted or to farms flooded because they are adjacent to land that has been designated for wetting.


Farm organisations need to unite, and to lobby for compensatory payments to be made on all designated lands. It is time for the farm organisations to enforce change in the Government’s laissez-faire attitude to farmers’ welfare and financial wellbeing.

All of these designations and proposed flooding are being done for the public good. Individuals should not have to carry the cost.