Agriculture Minister non committal on reimbursing co operation area farmers for investments in 2024

Farmers in co-operation areas of ACRES making investments, such as fencing, solar pumps, culverts, hedgerow planting and rejuvenation, gates and drinking troughs, are entitled to reimbursements of a portion of their cost. In the latest blow to farmers in the Acres Scheme, however, the Minister has refused to give a commitment that approved investments carried out in 2024 will be reimbursed this year.


2.8 litre diesel landcruisers while telling us to go electric…cutting farmers’ funds in environmentally designated areas while talking up the Nature Restoration Law…claiming to be personally putting money in farmers’ pockets when administering taxpayers’ funds…shameless.

Agri-Food Regulator

An amendment to the Agri-Food Regulator Bill to enable to regulator to go the High Court for an Order compelling the provision of data sought in the event that it wasn’t being provided was not accepted by the Minister for Agriculture.


Coillte, as a state company, is treated differently by state agencies and departments, including the Forestry Division when it comes to observing environmental standards.

That contributes to the detrimental environmental impact of much of our forestry which was recently highlighted by the EU Commission.

Energy Security

It was confirmed to me today that the Government did not even bother applying for a multi-billion euro EU scheme to fund biomethane production despite Ireland being ideally suited to its production, our agricultural sector seeking help to produce it and our dire need to replace increasingly expensive and scarce imported gas.

McNamara seeks urgent Government intervention on fertiliser to avoid food price increase

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue has said he will be participating in a special meeting of EU agriculture ministers tomorrow (Wednesday) in relation to the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on agriculture and food prices.

Minister McConalogue was responding to Independent Clare TD Michael McNamara who has expressed concern at the impact of rising fertiliser costs on food production and prices in Ireland.

Deputy McNamara claims urgent government intervention is required and has suggested the potential bulk purchase of fertilisers, the subvention of fertilisers, or the introduction of price caps.

Speaking during Questions on Promised Legislation in Dáil Éireann today, Deputy McNamara said, “Irish farmers face a dilemma. Do they borrow money to pay the cost of fertiliser which has more than doubled and hope to pass that on to consumers at the end of the year?  Or do they produce less food which will also result in a rise in consumer food prices at the end of the year?”

“I have no doubt that Ireland will produce more than enough food to feed itself, but I am less confident about Europe, particularly given the lack of supply that will be there from Ukraine which is the breadbasket of Europe,” he added.  “To ward off a horrible scenario where Irish consumers cannot afford the cost of food in Ireland like other European consumers, will the Government intervene by bulk buying fertilisers, subventing it or putting price caps in place? Because we need to intervene now.”

In response, Minister McConalogue commented, “You raise a very fair issue and a fair concern, and something that my department are monitoring very closely.  Also, we are having a special meeting of EU agriculture ministers this Wednesday and it’s something we will be discussing as part of that, as well in the context of the challenges that the unacceptable invasion of Ukraine is resulting in and what that means in terms of both gas, energy, fertiliser and potentially, grain prices.”

Type of forestry carried out in Ireland not environmentally sustainable

Clare Independent TD Michael McNamara has told the Dáil that farmers are being prevented from harvesting forestry they plant and there is no incentive to replace monoculture Sitka spruce plantations with something more sustainable.

Deputy McNamara was speaking during a Motion presented to the Dáil by Deputy Jackie Cahill, Cathaoirleach of the Joint committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

The Clare TD told Minister of State for Forestry, Senator Pippa Hackett, that the type of forestry being carried out in Ireland is not environmentally sustainable.

He said, “There is no sense of urgency, and farmers are seeing no urgency, with regard to their applications to plant trees or to cut the forestry they have planted, perhaps to replace it with something more environmentally sustainable.”

Deputy McNamara continued, “I hope we are about to see a change because all the talk in the world about afforestation in Glasgow – one can fly anywhere in the world and produce grandiloquent statements – is completely worthless unless it is backed up by what farmers are experiencing on the ground. We need action now as we are nearly half-way through the lifetime of this Government and we need it soon.”

“I ask the Minister of State to move outside her comfort zone. Stop talking to the converted and talk to farmers, ordinary people and landowners. They are the ones who are the future of afforestation in Ireland if there is going to be one. Above all, the Minister of State needs to back up the talk with actions, which have been singularly missing up to now,” he stated.

Rights of way Bill to be published

The Government has confirmed to Clare Independent TD Michael McNamara that the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform (Amendment) Bill will be published imminently.

Responding to Deputy McNamara in the Dáil last night, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said the Bill will begin its passage in the Seanad next week.

Deputy McNamara has previously expressed his support for the short amending Bill that will remove an upcoming deadline to register rights of way.

November 30th had originally been set as a deadline for receipt of applications for a court order to confirm a right by prescription with new rules due to take effect from December 1st.

Deputy McNamara has welcomed the abolition of the deadline proposed under the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform (Amendment) Bill 2021, which he described as “necessary to prevent stress between neighbours and to avoid a large volume of unnecessary court cases to register rights that have existed for generations.”

“In effect, every right of way dispute in the country, and many cases where there is as yet no dispute, would be brought to a head at the end of November, ending up in divisive Court cases with inevitable resultant legal costs,” the Clare farmer and barrister added.

He continued, “Minister for Justice Heather Humphreys has previously acknowledged there is legal uncertainty about how the new rules may be interpreted in practice, and that it has not yet been possible to register many important prescriptive rights. These difficulties are also causing significant delays in conveyancing, and in mortgage and farm loan applications.”

“The approaching deadline has been a cause of concern for many people, particularly farmers, and it also has been raised with the Minister by the Bar Council and the Law Society of Ireland,” added Deputy McNamara.

Should the short amending Bill successfully pass through the Dáil, as expected, the law applicable to prescriptive easements and profits will largely revert to the judge-made law that applied before the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2009. It will still be possible to confirm a prescriptive right, either by applying to court or by registering it directly with the Property Registration Authority. However, this will be optional, as it was before the 2009 Act, rather than a mandatory requirement to avoid losing any rights of way acquired through long use.

McNamara questions Clare’s omission from tourism funding scheme

County Clare does not feature amongst the 16 counties, including Galway, Kerry and Limerick, which are set to receive funding under the €1.2 million scheme.

Deputy McNamara says Minister Heather Humphreys, who announced the funding on Friday, should publish the awarding criteria given that County Clare is the 7th most afforested county in Ireland.

“Given that Clare is one of the most afforested counties in Ireland, both in terms of the size of area under forestry and the proportion of the County that is afforested, it is deeply disappointing that it is not receiving funding under this scheme,” explained Deputy McNamara.

“Community groups and voluntary organisations, along with Clare County Council and others, have developed and maintained many woodland walks and trails throughout the county in recent years. I would have thought that sites such as Cratloe Woods, Moylussa, Ard Aoibhinn, Knocknageeha in Killanena, Dromore, Ballybeg, Lees Road and Mount Callan, amongst others, between them offered scope for development.”

“The exclusion of any County Clare site from this funding announcement, therefore, requires explanation,” concluded Deputy McNamara.

Climate Action & Agriculture

When talking about reducing Carbon emissions from agriculture, we need to consider that the Irish national herd has scarcely increased since 1975, the specific impact of methane on global warming and the risk of displacing Irish produce with South American produce with far greater emissions.

We don’t even yet know the metric the Govt will use to measure greenhouse gas emissions in its Carbon budget, and the metric used will have a large impact on the targets to by met by various sectors, especially agriculture.

My interview on RTE Radio today.

Fair price for produce

We need to ensure that Irish farmers are adequately protected for producing an environmentally sustainable product and that they are not expected to sell that product below the cost of producing it. I questioned the Beef Taskforce Chair and Dept of Agriculture on the issue today.