Local Fine Gael councillor and dairy farmer, Cllr John Dolan, has criticised the handling of the derogation negotiations by the Minister for Agriculture, Deputy Charlie McConalogue and his team.
“It is a major blow to the Irish dairy industry and innumerable dairy farmers to have the derogation limit reduced from 250kg to 220kg from January 2024. This derogation has been vital to allow progress and develop in a sustainable and very regulated way with regular checks by the Department.
“As farmers we expect and deserve a Minister that will represent and fight for Irish farmers and the Irish agriculture industry in Europe in order to protect the vital part that agriculture plays in the whole economy. However, I couldn’t believe that as the negotiations were getting to decision time our Minister didn’t see fit to travel to Brussels and instead participated in a zoom call with the Commission.
“In my opinion, I don’t think that a Minister who can’t be bothered to travel to the Commission on such a fundamental issue is fit to be our representative and should consider his position. We, as farmers, are doing everything to produce our products in a sustainable manner, using new methods and technologies to take account of our impact on the environment as we always have.
“We are playing our part, but this will take time to result in improvements in water quality, so I expect the Minister to relay this to the different bodies and allow time for the good work that is being done to filter through,” Cllr Dolan asserted.