IFA says failure to treat waste water is damaging rivers

Failure to treat waste water properly continues to damage our rivers and coastal waters according to the IFA’s Environment Chairperson.

Thomas Cooney says he acknowledges the important role that farming plays in protecting and enhancing Ireland’s environment.

Responding to a recent water quality report, he says he supports previous comments by the EPA, which recognises that the failure to treat waste water properly continues to damage our rivers and costal waters.

Mr Cooney says  raw sewage from the equivalent of 88,000 people in 38 towns and villages is still flowing into our rivers and streams across the country.

He says unlike diffuse pollution which is sometimes attributed to agriculture, this point source pollution from ineffective wastewater treatment plants is known, identifiable and can be resolved.

Mr Thomas Cooney has welcomed the recently established water quality advisory service operated by Teagasc, with Government and dairy co-op support.

He says the service has the potential to collaboratively work with the farming community and address water quality challenges, while creating wider community awareness of the value of good water quality.

He says overall water quality in Ireland is good by European standards and farmers, supported by Government policy, have played their part in delivering on this.

In other farming news the ICSA sheep chairman John Brooks has welcomed the advance payment of €15.1 million made to 18,600 sheep farmers under year two of the Sheep Welfare Scheme.

Mr Brooks says the advance payment rate has been set at 85% again this year which is good news.

However, he says given the current under spend in the Rural Development Programme, ICSA believe the time is now right to explore enhancing the Sheep Welfare Scheme.”

Referring to the more than €300m in unspent funds under the TAMS II scheme Mr Brooks says the ICSA would like to see the sheep sector get a fair share of that under spend and while the scheme is delivering in its current format there is scope to increase payment levels.

This would see sheep farmers rewarded for undertaking additional tasks.