Aerial view of a group of people litter picking along a river bank.

Agriculture Will Deliver on Water Quality.  –  ICMSA.

Commenting on todays’ EPA water quality report, the President of ICMSA, Mr. Denis Drennan said that he is confident that Irish farmers will deliver water quality improvements and what is required is a collaborative approach working with farmers and dealing with issues on a site-specific basis rather than loading more and more regulation on farmers and unnecessarily undermining the economic viability of farm families.  

On the 2023 figures, Mr. Drennan said, that while there has been no significant change in water quality, it should be noted that from mid-June 2023, weather conditions deteriorated and the second half of the year was extremely wet and the science shows that extreme weather conditions have a negative impact on water quality which should be factored into the data and commentary.   Farmers have and are continuing to make significant changes and with chemical nitrogen usage 31% lower than 2018 levels, Mr. Drennan said, that he was confident that water quality will show improvements in the coming years taking account of the time lag factor in water quality improvement.

It is also important, Mr. Drennan said, that the regulators and the media take a balanced approach to water quality issues, the EPA statement today calls for “full compliance with the Good Agricultural Practice Regulations” while asking Uisce Eireann for an acceleration “in delivering improvements in wastewater infrastructure”, the inference being that farms families must meet all regulations immediately while a state agency is being given a pass and just asked to hurry up to be compliant.   The contradiction here is obvious and Uisce Eireann should have to meet the same standard as farmers and not be given 20 years to get their house in order.   The Government need to address this contradiction and we cannot continue to load regulation on farmers to point of putting them out of business while a state agency with €1.3 billion revenues is given special treatment.

Irish farmers will deliver on water quality, it is one of their key priorities and with collaboration with industry and Government support, improvements in water quality will be delivered over time, concluded Mr. Drennan.

ENDS   12th June 2024

Denis Drennan is at (086) 8389401.

ICMSA Head Office: (061) 314677.