Sinn Féin MEP Chris MacManus recently visited the innovative Inishowen Uplands European Innovation Partnership.
The project is funded by the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine (DAFM) under the Rural Development Programme.
MacManus MEP, a member of the European Parliament’s Agricultural Committee, was accompanied by Deputy Pádraig MacLochlainn and local Councillors Terry Crossan and Albert Doherty.
“My visit to the project’s demonstration farm in Redcastle served as an important reminder that Ireland will not meet its environmental objectives without the help of our farmers,” MacManus said.
“This is about farmers taking the initiative and showing how their experience can help Ireland lead the way in the climate transition. I want to commend the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association and everyone involved in this innovative project.”
“The land of Inishowen, although spectacular, is not ideal for large-scale food production operations. However, the rich landscapes provide numerous opportunities for the delivery of public environmental goods.”
Taking the abundance of blanket bogs, MacManus said, conservation and maintenance of this rare ecosystem could be an activity farmers are paid to do. “Fairly remunerating farmers for carrying out environmental actions will help us deliver on improved biodiversity, water quality and climate change, while also ensuring a livelihood for the next generation of farmers.”
The types of sustainable experiments and practices being carried out include varied grazing regimes, which do not lead to soil erosion, water filtration through hedgerows and trees, looking at alternatives to reduce nitrogen fertilisers and the introduction of clover and diverse swards for grazing.
MacManus outlined his party’s commitment to such projects but highlighted the importance of supports at both a national and EU level.
“Sinn Féin supports Irish agriculture transitioning to not only curtail any harmful impacts but actually becoming a net contributor to our environmental goals. It is not as simple as reducing production; this will only be replaced by carbon heavy imports from countries like Brazil.”