An extension to the deadline to establish wild bird cover under the Green, Low Carbon, Agri Environmental Scheme (GLAS) is required, independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice has said.

He has called on the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue to grant an extension to the deadline in light of heavy rainfall in the past month.

The deadline for the establishment of wild bird cover is set as Monday, May 31st.

Speaking on the matter, Fitzmaurice added: “Listening to farmers on the ground, there are still quite a number of wild bird covers yet to be established.

“Heavy rain over the past month has prevented some farmers getting in to plough land and sow their wild bird covers, due to ground being waterlogged. In some areas, you can hardly walk on the land, never mind bring in a tractor and plough.

“If you look at Met Eireann’s monthly rainfall statistics, particularly in the west of Ireland, the level of rainfall was up significantly compared to the same month last year.

“Up until this week, approximately 85mm had fallen in Athenry, Co. Galway, compared to 50mm for the entire month last year. Rainfall in Claremorris, Co. Mayo, totalled 123mm this month, versus 33mm in May 2020. While in Shannon, Co. Clare, the stats stood at 86.5mm compared to 16.2mm.

“With the weather set to pick-up in the next few days and into next week, I would ask the Minister to grant an extension to the deadline to allow farmers time to safely establish their wild bird covers.

“Farm safety is a matter of huge importance and we must not back farmers or agricultural contractors into a corner where they are rushing to get work done in order to meet a deadline, when favourable weather conditions are on the horizon,” Fitzmaurice concluded.

For further information contact Michael Fitzmaurice at 086-1914565

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