LESS THAN 6pc of the country's 4,500 commonages have applied to the GLAS with under two weeks to go to the deadline for the new environmental scheme.
New figures showing a county-by-county breakdown of applications show that just 264 of the national total have applied to the scheme to date, with close to 80pc of the applicants located in just three counties - Galway, Mayo and Donegal. In contrast, counties such as Waterford have no applications so far.
Galway accounts for 40pc of the total applications, despite only having 11pc of the total number of commonages over 10ha in size. Mayo, while having 50pc more commonages than Galway, has 30pc fewer applicants so far.
Counties in Munster and Leinster have shown very little appetite for the scheme, with the two provinces accounting for only 33 applications, or 11pc of the total. Four of these are in Leinster.
"The level of activity in each county is closely linked to how active the advisors were in each area," said Galway planner, Fergal Monaghan. "There were higher levels of competition between these operators as a result. To be honest, I am not surprised that 12 commonage counties have shown no activity and that only six counties have more than 10 commonage applications.
Mr Monaghan also claimed that many of the commonages submitted to the scheme will not get through the Commonage Management Plan process because they are so small.
"The production of a plan will be completely unviable from both a financial perspective and because of the stocking burden placed on one or two individuals," he said.
He believes that less than one third of the 15,000 commonage farmers in the country will actually enter the scheme this year.