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Ferris - Minister must act quickly on nitrates implementation

27 July, 2006

The Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture, Martin Ferris TD, Has called on Minister Mary Coughlan to act quickly in order to ensure that farmers are prepared for the introduction of the revised Nitrates regulations in January 2007. The European Commission has accepted Irish amendments based on research into specific conditions here carried out by Teagasc.

Deputy Ferris said: "The acceptance of the revised regulations must be welcomed. However, we must await to see in what manner the Department of Agriculture acts upon Minister Coughlan's pledge that farmers will be properly prepared prior to the regulation coming into effect from January 1 next. The reason for the scepticism is based on the fact that over 15 years since the EU issued the Nitrates Directive that successive Irish Governments sat on their hands. Only last year when it faced penalties for non-implementation did it begin to act and to present any sort of scientific argument for this country to be treated differently. That left farmers affected in a situation where they were facing severe cost increases and changes to their production systems. It is vital, therefore, that Teagasc and other bodies begin now to lay the basis for the Directive coming into force." ENDS

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