New Hen Harrier scheme welcome


Galway East TD Paul Connaughton has welcomed the announcement that farmers with land designated as Special Areas of Conservation for the protection of the Hen Harrier, are to be accommodated under the Locally Led Agri-Environment Scheme (LLAES).

‘Hen Harrier designation is a major issue for farmers in south Galway and over the course of the past four years I have met many farmers who have had their farming practices restricted very significantly because of Hen Harrier designation. Minister Coveney is putting together a package and this will form part of an amended Rural Development Programme which will be lodged with the EU Commission in Spring.

‘Today’s announcement is important as it is the first time that a Government has properly acknowledged the effect that this designation has on land use. The previous Farmland Birds Scheme had an annual budget of €3.5 million whereas this new proposed scheme is making €23 million per annum available for Hen Harrier actions in Glas and Glas plus.

‘However, there are many designation issues that remain to be addressed, including issues relating to multiple goose species in south Galway and specialised habitats along the Shannon and Such callows south of Ballinasloe and I will be taking these issues up with Minister Coveney in coming weeks.’