McConalogue warns farmers that it will be a ‘big challenge’ to retain EU nitrates exemption

The EU is restricting the exemption Irish farmers have from the nitrates directive because the run-off of slurry and fertiliser from these farms is continuing to damage water quality.

Charlie McConalogue, the Minister for Agriculture

Charlie McConalogue, the Minister for Agriculture, has warned there is a “big challenge” for farmers to retain their existing opt-out from EU environmental rules.

Since 1991, the EU has allowed thousands of Irish farmers to stock a higher number of cattle on their land and farm at more intensive levels than is normally permitted under European environmental rules.

Ireland is one of only three countries which gets a derogation under the Nitrates Directive, which is ...