Minister rules out advance payments on GLAS
Advance payments from the new environmental scheme, GLAS, have been ruled out by the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney.
The minister (pictured right) rejected suggestions from delegates at the ICSA annual conference last week that a 50pc payment covering a six month period from July could be paid to farmers whose applications had been successfully processed by the Department this year.
He added that the Department was still waiting for the GLAS scheme to be given the green light by the EU, but that his officials would work "flat out" to process an anticipated 30,000 applications for the scheme as fast as possible.
However, he expected that only about 10,000 of these applications would be processed by September, adding that the Department had set aside €20m this year to meet the cost of these approvals.
He said he would ensure that everything possible was done to maximise the amount of approvals processed by officials between now and the autumn.
On the commonage issue, Minister Coveney said he expected the proposal to appoint Department planners would be an "effective measure on adjudicating and resolving disagreements among farmers using these land spaces".
He said this proposal would ensure that where breeches of commonage obligations occurred, penalties would apply only to the individual farmers responsible rather than all the members of the commonage.