Irish farmers approved for 50pc SFP advance

Caitriona Murphy

European Commission officials have given the green light to an advance payment of €600m of the single farm payment (SFP) to Irish farmers this October.

The 50pc advance payment will equate to an average payment per farm of around €4,800 per farmer, based on 124,000 farmers applying.

The advance payment will start on October 16, with balancing payments being made from December 1.

Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney said he was pleased with the level of support for the Irish request for advance payments at the meeting of the Direct Payments Management Committee in Brussels. It received unanimous support from all member states.

Mr Coveney said he was particularly conscious of the difficulties caused for farmers by the current financial crisis and was acutely aware of the significance to the wider rural economy of the single payment.

"There are real financial benefits for the rural economy in making these payments six weeks earlier than otherwise provided for under the rules of the scheme," he said, thanking Commissioner Dacian Ciolos for the immediate and positive response to Ireland's request.

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