ICMSA President Denis Drennan at today's meeting with An Taoiseach Simon Harris (002)

Taoiseach gives ICMSA a “whole-of-sector” commitment on retaining Nitrates Derogation

Speaking following a meeting with An Taoiseach, Simon Harris, the President of ICMSA, Denis Drennan, said that meeting had dealt with very serious short and long term challenges facing the agriculture sector that required speedy and concerted responses from both Government and the EU. Mr Drennan said the very existence of our family farm model – the social, economic and demographic ‘spine’ of rural areas – was now being openly questioned and confidence in farming as a viable way of life was collapsing.

“We addressed a number of key issues with An Taoiseach including Budget 2025, climate action and agriculture, the Nitrates derogation, the future of CAP, live exports, Mercusor and Government engagement with the farm sector. The Taoiseach gave a commitment to improving engagement with farmers and working collaboratively to deal with the emergency situations we are facing.   This is welcome, but frankly more engagement will not suffice; we need action and a whole series of measures that will stop the draining away of confidence and investment from the one area in which Ireland indisputably is a world-leader: farming and sustainable food production.  As first steps in this process, ICMSA asked the Taoiseach to deliver on the Programme for Government commitment to introduce an income volatility measure for farmers, to introduce a 70% grant for slurry storage investments, greater flexibility regarding TAMS and – most critically – to ensure that Ireland retains its Nitrates derogation.  We welcome the Taoiseach’s commitment to play an active role in relation to the retention of the derogation and the need for a whole-of-sector approach to ensure the retention of our largest indigenous industry delivering economic activity in every townland in Ireland”, said Mr Drennan.

“We have to believe that the Taoiseach will carry through on that commitment to engage and work collaboratively towards the goals that we all see. The alternative is that steady month-on-month draining away of the confidence and future that will have the most serious ramifications for the rural areas and for our indigenous exports; we’ll lose the next generation and become even more dependent on FDI that is almost completely confined to Dublin and a few other urban centres. This is a moment of choice, and the Government must realise that”, he concluded.

Ends    30 May 2024

Denis Drennan, 086-8389401

President, ICMSA.


Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758

ICMSA Press Office