25 April 2016
By Elaine Murphy
ICSA met with farmers on Sherkin island last Thursday (April 21) to help them in their campaign for fair play. ICSA West Cork chairman Dermot Kelleher, who organised the meeting said that the key objective for these farmers was to be designated for the chough bird in order to avail of a realistic GLAS payment.
“The chough bird is extremely rare and found on coastal areas, including Cape Clear and Sherkin. Bizarrely Cape Clear has been designated for the purpose of the GLAS scheme as a chough area but Sherkin which is literally a stone’s throw away is not. This means that Sherkin farmers cannot get a realistic payment out of GLAS and ICSA wants to see this situation rectified.”
ICSA rural development chairman Seamus Sherlock said that he would be seeking a commitment from the incoming Minister for Agriculture to re-examine the anomaly. “While designation is usually a matter for the NPWS and the Minister in charge of it, we understand that the Minister for Agriculture had the ability to rectify the situation for Cape Clear in terms of GLAS. However, this discretion was not exercised in favour of Sherkin which ICSA believes is very unfair.”
ICSA also held discussions with the Sherkin farmers, led by Sean O’Neill and Martin O’Driscoll on the issue of unfair overclaim deductions under the LPIS review. “It is essential to understand that these farmers face huge challenges and are doing a great job in keeping farming going on the island and it is outrageous that they are being penalised rather than getting support from the state,” concluded Mr Sherlock.
The ICSA delegation which visited the island also included the general secretary Eddie Punch.