Govt cash to boost conservation on Ireland’s west coast

Farmers working in a sensitive and scientifically important habitat on Ireland's west coast are to receive government funding to encourage sustainable agriculture and support conservation projects.

Those farming in the Burren, a stretch of rocky grasslands in County Clare, will receive a share of €3 million over the next three years.

The money will come from unspent cash under the EU’s Single Payment Scheme and will be administered by the BurrenLIFE conservation project.

The European-funded project was set up five years ago and is about to reach the end of its pilot phase.

Michael Davoren, chairman of the Burren Irish Farmers Association, said he was delighted with the announcement.

“This is the best day of my farming life, he said.

“This decision is way bigger that the initial EC funding of the pilot phase of BurrenLIFE.

“It represents a very serious buy-in by the Department of Agriculture for the work being undertaken by Burren farmers. It is now critical that the Department of the Environment fund the operational side of project and ensure that the project offices and team are retained.”

He said that the BurrenLIFE team had shown remarkable skill and dedication and through their interaction with farmers have succeeded in changing farming practices.

He said that the funding decision would allow Burren farmers to deliver the pristine environment they were capable of delivering.

Sam Bond

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