There’s no point arguing about the cut to Ireland’s nitrates derogation from 250kg to 220kg organic nitrogen per hectare (N/ha) when the decision has been made, said Oireachtas agriculture committee chair Jackie Cahill TD.

Cahill said that when he was in Brussels two weeks ago, Commissioner for the Environment Virginijus Sinkevicius was “crystal clear that this decision is over”.

The Tipperary TD was speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal during the first day of the National Ploughing Championships in Ratheniska, Co Laois.

“The Commission had made the decision on the 250kg and there won’t be any renegotiation of it. [Sinkevicius] was emphatic that it’s not going back to his committee and under no circumstances is he going to reopen that.

“While I’m very disappointed with that position of the Commission, there’s no point in arguing about something that’s over and done with,” he said.


The Tipperary TD said that all of Government and farmer representatives should now focus on maintaining the derogation at the 220kg level.

“We have a very huge battle in holding on to the 220kg and that’s what we need to concentrate on. I think going back to the Commission arguing over a decision that is made is definitely the wrong approach.

“Farmers out there have to make decisions on their own herds and the financial difficulties they’re going to have coming back from the 250kg to the 220kg. I think they need clarity.

“The clarity is crystal clear. Unfortunately, this decision is made, it’s not being revisited and any ambiguity about that is unhelpful,” Cahill added.