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Farmers frustrated with changes to nitrates limits– Lombard

European Commissioner to hear agri sector’s opposition in meeting today

7th September 2023 - Senator Tim Lombard

Farmers have been left frustrated and disappointed at the changes to nitrates derogation limits and delays in farm payments, a Fine Gael Senator has said.

Senator Tim Lombard, a Cork farmer, said the statement from Minister for Agriculture, Charlie McConalogue, that the European Commission has confirmed there is “no prospect” of re-opening the current commission decision on Ireland’s nitrates derogation is a major blow to all involved.

“I’m in Brussels this week with three other members of the Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and Marine. We have a face-to-face meeting with Environment Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius this afternoon where I will be outlining the impact of this decision in person.

“It was a real blow to hear that Minister McConalogue had a virtual meeting with the Commissioner ahead of the meeting with the Agricultural Committee today.

“There is a strong and credible case to be made on behalf of Irish farmers and I will still make that case today But it is deeply disappointing and frustrating that we didn’t get to do so before Minister McConalogue’s meeting on Monday,” Senator Lombard said.

“We now need a thorough and complete assessment of the economic impact of this decision. What will the cost be to farming families and to rural communities?

“It’s like a perfect storm for dairy farmers right now. We’ve seen the price of milk fall from high 50s to mid 30 cents/litre.

“Now effectively, there will be a cap placed on the production of milk.

“How does Minister McConalogue propose to bridge this gap? We need a vision and policy for this industry which is so crucial to this country,” concluded Senator Lombard.

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