€6.3 million paid to Kerry farmers since 2015 for hen harrier conservation

Over €6.3 million has been paid to Kerry farmers over the past five years for the conservation of the hen harrier.

The protected bird of prey can be found in Kerry in the Stack’s to Mullaghareirk Mountains, West Limerick Hills and Mount Eagle Special Protection Area.

The details were revealed by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed following a question from Limerick Fianna Fáil TD Niall Collins.

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine makes payments to landowners through the Hen Harrier Project and the Conservation of Farm Birds (Hen Harrier) option in GLAS.

The Hen Harrier Project was established in 2017 in an effort to conserve the protected bird of prey, which can be found in the uplands during the summer months in the breeding season.

The project is operationally independent of the Department of Agriculture and is run by a Hen Harrier Project Team; it has 1,524 participating farmers, including over 600 in the Stacks Mountains SPA.

Under this scheme, over €782,000 has been paid to Kerry landowners – €257,000 in 2018, €521,000 in 2019, and €4,700 so far this year.

Under GLAS, farmers with hen harrier habitat qualify for a payment of €370 per hectare per year.

€5.5 million has been paid to Kerry landowners since 2015; almost €200,000 in 2015, €1.1 million in 2016, €1.4 million in both 2017 and 2018, and €1.3 million last year.