Farmers move to bar environmentalists from land

‘Keep off our land’ campaign set to run until State compensation scheme is honoured

The Department of Heritage said it works closely with the IFA on land management issues and remained committed to doing so. Photograph: Getty Images

The Department of Heritage said it works closely with the IFA on land management issues and remained committed to doing so. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Irish farmers have begun a “keep off our land” campaign aimed at barring environmental organisations until such time as a State compensation scheme is honoured.

Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) members have begun hanging posters on land around the country, aimed in particular at blocking access to the National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS) and BirdWatch Ireland.

Lands can be designated as Special Areas of Conservation (Sacs) for various environmental reasons but the IFA says an agreement to pay compensation to landowners has not been honoured.

IFA call

Compensation is calculated on the type of Sac designation and an estimated loss of earnings as a result of associated restrictions on activities. The NPWS requires access to land in order to carry out such designations and to oversee their implementation.

IFA national chairman Jer Bergin said the next government must address the issues at hand.

BirdWatch Ireland said it was surprised by the move and that farmers are the “custodians of some of Ireland’s most important habitats and iconic wildlife”.

It said it advocated financial support for those “whose actions serve to protect and conserve wildlife and biodiversity”.

The Department of Heritage, which runs the NPWS, said it works closely with the IFA on land management issues and remained committed to doing so.