The IFA has said farmers whose land has been designated as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) are not being properly compensated by Minister Josepha Madigan at the Department of Heritage.

Speaking at an IFA protest at the Department of farmers from designated areas, Padraic Joyce said, “We have been in discussions for the past 18 months. The Minister’s lack of engagement on the matter is not acceptable. IFA sought a meeting with the Minister some months ago, but she has so far not met with IFA.”

“While a final agreement with the Department is close, the main issue for Minister Madigan is a meaningful compensation scheme for farmers affected by designations. The Minister must deliver on this crucial issue, as farmers with designated land throughout the country are being denied their rights to maximise the potential of their land, due to the severe farming and developmental restrictions imposed on them. 13.6% of the land is designated as either SAC (Special Areas of Conservation) or SPA (Special Protection Areas), impacting around 35,000 farmers. The farming and development restrictions devalue their property and leads to income loss.”

Joyce said that discussions will mean very little if the Minister does not deliver a proper compensation scheme as part of the next Budget in two weeks’ time.