Protecting the Natural Environment
- Prioritise Organic Fertilisers. The intensive use of soil in Ireland coupled with the use of phosphates and nitrates has degraded the top soil. A recent report by the UN stated that Irish agriculture will become unviable in 60 years if the current methods are continued. To tackle soil and nutrient depletion, People Before Profit would task local authorities with developing large-scale composting systems, or biodigesters, which would produce organic fertiliser and biogas – methane. If these processes were implemented we could start to reduce the need for fossil transport and machinery fuel in cities and on farms, and return nutrients to the land.
- Turn Slurry into Biofuel. The flip side of nutrient depletion on the soil is an overabundance in our seas. Phosphates and slurry run off land into the seas creating an overabundance of algae and havoc for aqua life cycles. To tackle this problem, PBP would invest in R&D to turn slurry into biofuel. This would reduce our carbon footprint and reduced the damaging run off into our seas. The industrial production of Algae is also a problem. PBP would ban industrial-mechanical algae production in favour of more environmentally friendly methods.
Reform of Glás Scheme & Commonage Rules
- Charter of Farmers Rights. This should re-balance the sector in favour of small and medium sized farmers.
- Independent Appeals Board. An Independent Appeals Board to be established in relation to payments lost under inspection without a control report.
- Equity in Glás Scheme. Farmers with lands in marginal areas (i.e. bordering designated areas) or with natural constraints should automatically qualify for the Glás scheme. Highly intensive farms on good land should not get access to Glás.
- Tackle the inequities in pay rates for Areas of Natural Constraint Scheme. Areas of Natural Constraint should be allocated €25 million for the Sheep Welfare Scheme, targeted at hill type land.
- Rationalise herd numbers. The restrictions on min/max stocking numbers should be revised to encourage farmers with stable stocks to enter Glás, thus preventing over grazing when other farmers increase their stocks to compensate for the rules on minimum stock levels. Once this is done it should be compulsory for all farmers in commonage lands to join Glás.
- Commonage Management Plans. The Commonage Management Plans required for Glás should take into account the stock numbers of non-Glás farmers.
- of Agriculture should take responsibility for commonage plans. Currently farmers joining Glás need to employ 2 planners at €120/ha – one for the individual plan and the other for the overall plan for the entire commonage. This should be covered by the Department.
- Collective responsibility should be abolished. Currently if one farmer on the commonage breaches the environmental regulations the whole collective is penalised. This should be abolished as it is unfair on those farmers abiding by the rules. Also Glás farmers could be held responsible for acts carried out by non-Glás farmers on the same commonage.
- Review of Birds and Habitats Directive. Commonage Framework Plans developed for compliance with the Birds & Habitats Directive need to be reviewed with the aim of reinstating all lands made ineligible and reimbursing those affected by loss of payments.
The International Environment
- Support for farmers affected by Brexit. Currently 40% of our farming exports end up in the UK market. To guard against the negative impacts of Brexit, PBP need to think about redirecting farmers way from exports of livestock to the UK and into locally produce and green initiatives
- Complete opposition to CITA, TTIP and other forms of neoliberal free trade agreements. PBP recognises the dangers of CITA and TTIP for farmers, particularly as many of the danger flow from the higher levels of food safety standards that apply in the EU.