This photograph of supplementary sheep feeding on the Curragh in November 2012 was submitted by a regular visitor to the Curragh.
The report of the Environmental Policy Board for the Curragh Lands (1998) commented on the practice as follows:
“71. Importation of Animal Feed:
a. This activity is now mainly confined to the bringing of supplementary feed onto the Lands during winter when there is little growth.
b. Evidence of supplementary feeding of sheep has been observed – mainly hay and silage racks.
c. In addition the practice leads to large numbers of sheep congregating in the one area leading to damage to the surface and possible contamination of the groundwater.
d. There is a danger that the practice of supplementary feeding could be used to support already overburdened facilities at the owner’s home, and doing so at the expense of conservation of the Curragh.
e. There is no provision in any of the Acts for feeding sheep on the Curragh (the rights held are rights to graze only) and the practice presents a threat to existing flora by way of nutrients and alien seeds and should be stopped.”
Unfortunately, there are many areas where supplementary feeding takes place on the Curragh and despite the recommendations of the Environmental Policy Board in 1998, no action is taken by the Dept. of Defence to curb the activity.