Farming for Water EIP is a good news story says Senator Victor Boyhan

Farming for Water EIP is a good news story says Senator Victor Boyhan

Independent Senator Victor Boyhan has told the Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine that the recently launched Farming for Water EIP is a good news story which needs to be highlighted more.

Speaking in Dáil Éireann during a discussion on ‘Compliance with the Nitrates Directive: Implications for Ireland’ the former member of Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council said: “This is a very positive story and I think these initiatives can be lost in the bigger agri-political forum. I think we can do more to explain all of this and to tell a good story,” said Senator Boyhan (pictured).

Senator Boyhan’s comments came following contributions from LAWPRO Director of Services Mr Anthony Coleman, and his colleagues Margaret Keegan and Ruth Hennessy on the recently launched Farming for Water European Innovation Partnership (EIP). The €60 million project is minded to reach 15,000 farmers in water quality pressure areas and the process is well underway with the first grants having already been paid out.

Mr Boyhan had asked about the scheme and wondered when it will be up and running and what conditions will be attached.

Mr Coleman (pictured below) told him: “Farming for Water EIP is already started. We have undertaken a number of pilots throughout the country in consultation with our partners Teagasc and Dairy Industry Ireland (DII). The first payment of grants have already been processed to farmers.  The initial cohort will be targeting farmers who went through the Agricultural Sustainability Support and Advisory Programme (ASSAP) programme. Eight thousand referrals from LAWPRO to ASSAP in priority action areas have been processed and we will be going back to the farmers and inviting them to make applications in the coming months.

“We are already receiving applications and we are working with TIRLÁN in the Slaney area, and Dairygold in Kerry. We want to get grants paid out to farmers as soon as they put in the measures and reach the target of 15,000 farmers as early as possible. If we can get in earlier with applications and reach that target early that would be a good problem.

Ruth Hennessy of LAWPRO added: “It is important to remember that the grant scheme is almost like phase 2. LAWPRO and ASSAP were established back in 2018 to address where agriculture was impacting on water quality and what measures were required, but there was no funding in place until now for the additional measures to be implemented.

“Phase 2 now is where ASSAP advisors can go back to the farmers they initially engaged with and who may not have introduced measures due to lack of funding. They can now channel those applications through funding. That targeted science information has already been provided in those areas and we will continue to do that and to expand into new areas as the programme grows. So, it is about building on the work and knowledge that is already there and expanding on the experience,” she said


Among the measures to be taken include farmyard rain water management; introduction of riparian buffers, hedges and bunds to help break the flow of nutrients towards water courses; and fencing off banks to prevent cattle from entering the river.

The Water EIP mission is to support and facilitate the application of locally led water stewardship following catchment science principles and focusing  on water quality and multiple benefits, including climate and biodiversity,  through championing project actions, integrating project learnings into  sustainability initiatives and ensuring that  the work programme is supported at every stage in the delivery process.

You can watch the video of proceedings here on Oireachtas TV.