Ban on animal access to rivers on way

Michael Fitzmaurice: River restrictions on the way?
Michael Fitzmaurice: River restrictions on the way?

THE days of farmers being able to let their cattle drink from rivers and streams bordering or running through their lands could be coming to an end.

A review group consisting of officials from the Dept. of Agriculture, the Dept. of Housing, Teagasc and the Environmental Protection Agency, have recommended that animal access to watercourses be banned from 2021.

Roscommon-Galway TD, Michael Fitzmaurice, however has warned the Government that such a course of action must be considered carefully and should involve full consultation with the farming community.

“Farmers do need to be made aware that it is proposed from 2021 not to allow livestock to drink in rivers, or what we call water holes near rivers, or indeed water courses.

“If this improves water quality, the farming community will work with the Government on this proposal. But if they are imposing extra regulations on farmers then the Government needs to start planning on how to solve this problem smoothly,” said Deputy Fitzmaurice.

He said that before the Government could consider such a move, they would need to bring in schemes for pumps and associated works to be put in place for water extraction.

Deputy Fitzmaurice said that the issues raised the question of who owned the water in the river in the first place and who would be responsible for the maintenance of the river course or waterway.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.