ICMSA Meet With DG Environment On Nitrates Derogation.

Speaking following a meeting with the EU Commission’s DG Environment in Brussels on the implementation of the Nitrates Directive in Ireland and in particular, the future of the Nitrates Derogation, the President of ICMSA, Mr. Denis Drennan said, that ICMSA clearly stated to the EU Commission the huge significance for Irish farm families and the wider dairy sector of retaining the derogation going forward and the need for certainty for dairy farmers so that they can plan positively for their future.    ICMSA highlighted the importance of Ireland’s grass based dairy sector, one of Ireland’s largest indigenous industries and the excellent work being done across the sector to improve our environmental sustainability but also the need to support farmers in what is an unprecedented challenging time.

In a positive engagement with the EU Commission, Mr. Drennan said, that the Commission emphasised the need for improvements in water quality and the need for the sector to have a plan going forward that will deliver positive water quality results.   ICMSA highlighted the huge progress being made through projects such as ASSAP, EIP programmes and the work of farmers at individual farm level through investment in facilities, the reduction in N usage, the more focussed use of nutrients and nutrient reduction technologies.   A huge effort is being made by farmers and the sector and this will continue and ICMSA stated clearly to the EU Commission that the role of others in particular urban waste water treatment must be properly accounted for and dairy farmers cannot be blamed or undermined due to issues in other sectors.    ICMSA also stressed the need for time for measures to take effect given the scientific evidence that there can be a significant time-lag between the implementation of a measure and its impact on water quality.

Mr. Drennan stated that he believed that the EU Commission recognised the challenge for the family farm model and said, that he believed it is up to the sector and our Government to deliver a strategy that will address water quality while protecting our family farms who are dependent on the derogation for their viability.   This will require substantial Government support which needs to be forthcoming in 2024 and also part of Budget 2025.   There is a significant challenge ahead and constructive engagement with the EU Commission will be critical to secure the derogation and the long term future of our dairy sector, concluded Mr. Drennan.

ENDS  5 June 2024

Denis Drennan is at (086)8389401.

ICMSA Head Office (061) 314677.