Welcoming the announcement, Fine Gael TD for Clare, Pat Breen said: “The BFCP has been established to support high environmental value farming in the Burren which is one of Ireland’s outstanding landscapes and is known worldwide. The payments announced today (Friday), brings the allocation to participating famers to almost €5 million over five years.
“The funding from this scheme comes from unused Single Farm Payment funds which have been used to repair over 89,000 meters of stone walls, remove by hand 214 hectares of invasive scrub from rich grasslands and ancient monuments. This funding has also been used to reopen over 137 km of paths enabling livestock access to under-grazed grasslands. Hundreds of water supplies have been protected resulting in improved water quality in this very sensitive karst landscape.
“This is the first farming conservation programme of its kind and it is extremely important for farmers in the Burren area. This scheme has been made a success by farmers themselves, the Burren IFA, Teagasc and the National Parks and Wildlife Service, as well as many other stakeholders. The Burren is one of Ireland’s most important heritage sites and we have a responsibility to do everything we can to protect it. At the same time farmers have to make a living and we must support them in doing so.
“The BFCP has improved the biodiversity, water quality, cultural and landscape attributes on almost 13,000 hectares of land in the Burren. I commend Minister Coveney for directing much needed funding into this scheme and I congratulate Burren farmers for the work they have done in maintaining this invaluable landscape,” added Deputy Breen.