Minister Joe O’Brien welcomes significant funding available for farmers in Fingal to improve water quality.

24th July, 2023

Minister Joe O’Brien has welcomed the announcement of supports of €60 million for the improvement of water quality at local level in Dublin Fingal.

Through a WATER European Innovation Partnership (EIP) project, the Local Authority Waters Programme (LAWPRO) with Teagasc and Dairy Industry Ireland (DII) will work with farmers on an individual basis to improve water quality. This will be achieved through the adoption of innovative practices in nutrient management, the application of nature-based Natural Water Retention Measures (NWRM) and other measures at farm level following the principles of Integrated Catchment Management. As an innovation partnership, measures will be designed and targeted specifically to address local challenges in Fingal.

This is a collaborative approach between the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage in partnership with industry. The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, will support the project through the provision of technical assistance and funding of €50 million for participating farmers, co-funded by the National Exchequer and the EU under the Common Agricultural Policy.  It expects to target 15,000 farmers in priority areas nationally.  The Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage will provide administrative support and funding of €10 million. The Water EIP project, which will run until the end of 2027, has been awarded to the Local Authority Waters Programme (LAWPRO).

Welcoming the news, Joe O’Brien TD said:

“This is a welcome recognition of farmers that invest above and beyond regulatory requirements to address specific localised water quality issues here in Fingal. There is an opportunity for farmers to work collaboratively with the organisations involved and receive support to implement locally led advisory schemes to have a positive impact on our environment, and, crucially, on water quality, particular in the north of the County.”

“This new project will provide direct support to farmers in Fingal and a vital link between the EPA’s catchment science, ASSAP advice and effective farm-level measures to protect and restore our waterways, rivers and beaches in Fingal.”

Minister for Land Use and Biodiversity, Senator Pippa Hackett, noted:

“As Minister with responsibility for European Innovation Partnerships within the Department of Agriculture, I have seen first-hand in recent years the positive impact that targeted schemes can have on our environment. This is our largest EIP to date, and the scale of funding reflects the scale of our ambition to tackle agriculture-related declines in water quality.”

European Innovation Partnership Agriculture (EIP-Agri) projects are locally led and collaborative, tackling issues affecting natural resources, such as water, in an innovative way.  Learnings from previous successful EIP projects funded by the Department under the Rural Development Programme have already been scaled up into nationwide schemes such as the new agri-environment scheme, ACRES.

The evaluation of the Agricultural Sustainability Support and Advisory Programme (ASSAP) identified the need to support farmers who implement additional targeted water protection measures. Scientific tools developed by the Environmental Protection Agency can help with targeting of the right measure in the right place.