Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has urged the Department of Agriculture to show flexibility and compassion to farmers who are applying for an extension of the slurry spreading deadline.

It comes following confirmation from the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine that farmers have up until this Saturday to apply for an extension.  However, it has also emerged that anyone who applies will be prioritised for an inspection.

Deputy McConalogue explained, “While the decision to allow farmers apply for an extension is welcome, it is deeply unfair that the Government appears to be attempting to deter these same farmers from doing so by issuing the threat of inspection.

“The farmers who need to apply for an extension are doing so because they have been unable to spread slurry this summer.  We have seen extremely wet weather over the past number of months, particularly along the west coast, with many farmlands remaining waterlogged.  It is not feasible to spread slurry in these conditions and now we have situations across the country where farmers have been left with almost full tanks.

“The Department must show flexibility in the terms and conditions of the extension criteria.  These are farmers who have had a very difficult summer because of events beyond their control.  The threat of inspections may discourage farmers from applying, which will result in a lose-lose situation for everyone concerned.”

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