'Majority of REPS farmers won't qualify for GLAS'
The number of farmers that will qualify for GLAS will only be a third of the total numbers that entered REPS in at least one county, according to Independent TD, Denis Naughten.
According to the midlands representative, the majority of ex-REPS farmers in Roscommon will not meet the eligibility criteria for the new agri-environmental scheme because large tracts of the county are not deemed to be water vulnerable areas.
The latest environmental scheme has been allocated funding to cope with up to 50,000 applicants. This is just 20pc short of what REPS catered for at its peak.
Deputy Naughten claims that the definition of a water vulnerable area in GLAS means that it only covers farms that are adjacent to rivers, while taking no account of ground water vunerablility.
A third of Roscommon's population are subject to boil-water notices due to ground water contamination.
"We have hit the headlines regarding the cryptosporidium in our water and many communities throughout Roscommon and east Galway have boil water notices in place. We have issues regarding trihalomethane, an organic contaminant, in our water. However, we are not considered to be water vulnerable areas," said Deputy Naughten.
"Surely GLAS should include such under water sources that are so common in this region as part of their overall protection programme?" he asked.
"Many farmers here are relying on gaining access to GLAS to try to supplement their low or falling payments and they were all lead to believe during the discussions on CAP that the scheme would be designed to facilitate such access," he said.