Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has announced an aid package of €500,000 to support farmers impacted by a massive landslide in Leitrim two-and-a-half years ago.

Farmers will be able to qualify for payments of a maximum of €20,000 each.

In June 2020, following days of heavy rainfall, an estimated 160,000 tonnes of peat flowed down from a bog on the top of Shass Mountain in Drumkeeran.

Thick deposits of peat and sludge settled on surrounding farmland and forestry.

The cost of removing the overspill material and reinstating the land was put at €20 million and deemed unfeasible and environmentally unsafe.

Announcing the compensation package, Minister McConalogue said it was in recognition of the hardship caused by the landslide and the long-term impact on farming communities.

There are around 20 individuals who qualify for the scheme.

Each will receive a hardship payment of €5,000 and just over €12,000 per hectare of lands affected. Farmers will be required to manage the land in an environmentally sustainable manner and not remove the overspill peat and debris.

The financial aid also includes provision for fencing and gateways on agricultural land and will provide for the reconstitution of forests in affected areas.

Farmers have cautiously welcomed the package, but are seeking clarity on the status of EU farm payments from 2023 onwards.