Forgotten farmers not eligible for National Reserve, says Department
Calls for 'forgotten farmer' funding to be taken out of the €5m National Reserve have been dismissed by Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed.
Pressure is mounting on Minister Creed to secure EU recognition for the group made up of 3,900 farmers aged under 40 years who do not qualify for crucial CAP supports aimed at young farmers because they started farming before 2008.
The Department of Agriculture previously stated that it would cost more than €12m to increase existing entitlements to the national average for this cohort.
Last week, Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice called on Minister Creed to use funding from the National Reserve.
However, a spokesperson for the Agriculture Minister stressed that the National Reserve must firstly adhere to the needs of new entrants and young farmers. "That's the law, you cannot cater for any other type of classification except for new entrants and young farmers until their needs have been fully satisfied.
"Only when that €5m is exhausted by new entrants and young farmers can anything be made available for any other category with a specified disadvantage," he said.
However, demand from both categories suggests it will be extremely unlikely that funding will be left over.
"The bottom line is if you're going to cater for farmers outside new entrants and young farmers, you're talking a significant top slice off other farmers. It's clear from deliberations with farming organisations that the appetite isn't there for that," said the Department spokesperson.