A united front on the nitrates derogation from all Government coalition partners is being sought by Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue.

Minister McConalogue will bring a memo to his Cabinet colleagues next week requesting a whole Government approach to securing the derogation beyond 2025.

The memo is being brought alongside the Department of Housing, which oversees the nitrates regulations.

The Irish Farmers Journal understands that a document will be included alongside the memo outlining the position of the Water Quality Working Group and a plan to secure the renewal of the derogation.


The memo is to state that the derogation is available to Ireland on the “basis of specific scientific criteria”, as well as highlighting the “profound impact” its loss would have.

It also references in relation to the Water Framework Directive for rivers that Ireland is 13th out of 27 European Union (EU) member states in terms of good or high ecological status.

However, it cautions that Ireland is not on track to meet the directive targets by 2027.

An independent chair will also be appointed to the Water Quality Working Group to liaise directly with the Government. Minister McConalogue said collaboration is needed across the board on the derogation.

“It is by working together, all of us - the Government, farmers, industry and the European Commission - that we will secure the continuation of the derogation,” he said.