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‘Farmers should be allowed spread slurry year-round’ – Burke

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Pressurised farmers have influenced Clare councillors to seek permission for them to be able to spread slurry all year round.

Spreading of slurry is prohibited from November to January each year. Co Clare is included in Zone B of counties that were given clearance to start spreading slurry from January 16th this year.

Both the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Environment have been requested to amend restrictions to allow farmers apply slurry “when weather conditions allow, at any time of the year”.

It comes following a motion by Cllr Pat Burke (FG) to the last meeting of Clare County Council that was open to the public before the introduction of COVID-19 restrictions. He admitted that he put submitted the motion “due to pressures that farmers were under”.

Burke acknowledged that “in good farming practice” farmers will know when not to spread slurry. The Whitegate representative stated, “Farming by the calendar is just not possible. It’s damaging the environment”.

Fellow East Clare councillor, Pat Hayes (FF) seconded the motion. “It makes no sense to farm by the calendar as opposed to weather regulations”.

Agreement was voiced by Cllr Pat O’Gorman (FF). “There is no way you can farm by the calendar especially the way the weather is gone in recent years. Everything is going against the farmer and then these regulations were brought in”. Cllr Paul Murphy (FG) added, “Farmers do behave responsibly” and referenced Council Chief Executive Pat Dowling’s time as Chairman of Macra na Féirme.

Introduction of the regulations were described as “complete madness” by Cllr Roisin Garvey (GP). She maintained they needed to be amended and flagged, “weather patterns have completely changed”.

“I have a bit of a problem with the motion. Anytime of the year is the part that troubles me,” Cllr Gerry Flynn (IND) admitted. Cllr Burke thanked those that supported the motion and told Cllr Flynn, “I did speak about good farming practice, you don’t have an awful lot to worry about”.

Páraic McMahon is Head of News & Sport with The Clare Echo. The Newmarket-on-Fergus native also writes for national papers including The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent and The Irish Times along with doing work for RTÉ, Today FM, TheJournal.ie and The42.ie. A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to - paraic@clareecho.ie

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