FIE has found that in spite of an unequivocal statement by the European Commissioner for the Environment that no extension to the slurry spreading season be permitted in Ireland, the Minister for the Environment extended this period into the last two weeks of October. This period saw some of the heaviest rainfall in Irish history, washing the slurry into drinking water sources across Ireland.

Ireland now has the highest rate in Europe of two of the diseases caused by slurry in drinking water, cryptosporidium and STEC [e.coli]. With only token set-backs of 2 metres from our drinking water abstraction bodies, contamination of water supplies by slurry spreading is creating a direct danger to public health and consequent cost to the health service.

The group has written to the European Commissioner and to the Minister for Health, Dr. James O'Reilly.

With ever increasing production, farmers must be required to use separation or anaerobic digesters on this ‘waste' to reduce the need for slurry spreading and prevent the health risks of contamination of the country's drinking water.

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