The Association of Farm & Forestry Contractors in Ireland (FCI) has reiterated concerns in relation to cross-border movements of agricultural contractors during the current pandemic.
The FCI has penned a letter to the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, TD and the Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tony Holohan, as well as the Minister for Agriculture, Charlie McCanologue and Minister Martin Heydon.
It is “requesting that the same regulations are put in place as were in place during the 2001 Foot & Mouth crisis, as a matter of urgency”.
The FCI has requested such measures to “prevent Northern Ireland-based farm contractors and their operators from entering into this state for slurry spreading activities, without clear evidence of being tested negative for the virus”.
This, the association added, should be implemented to continue to support the “huge national effort” by Irish citizens to lessen the significant human health impacts from the spread of COVID-19.
The closed slurry-spreading period came to an end in some parts of Ireland as early as January 12th.
There are three designated zones in total, which determine, depending on your location, what dates when you can begin spreading farmyard manure, artificial fertiliser and slurry.
- Zone A– Wexford, Wicklow, Offaly, Tipperary, Laois, Kildare, Dublin, Kilkenny, Cork, Carlow and Waterford.
- Zone B– Roscommon, Sligo, Mayo, Galway, Meath, Westmeath, Longford, Clare, Kerry, Limerick and Louth.
- Zone C – Leitrim, Cavan, Donegal, Monaghan, Antrim, Fermanagh, Tyrone, Armagh, Down and Derry.
See when you can spread slurry in your county, by clicking here.
Last year, ahead of silage season, the FCI called for a clampdown on Northern Ireland contractors working in the Republic during times of Covid-19 restrictions.
Michael Moroney of FCI, told That’s Farming: “We encourage farmers to make a choice whereby they would discourage Northern Irish contractors coming into the Republic.”
“There’s a potential that it could be received badly in the north, but national health is the priority at the moment.”
“There has always been quite a bit of movement, mainly in one direction from the north to the Republic. That has been ongoing for a number of years.”
“The reason that we raised the issue was because of the time of the foot and mouth all that activity was cancelled,” he added.