Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Sunday 25 February 2018

Minister rules out advance payments on GLAS

Minister Simon Coveney
Minister Simon Coveney

Ken Whelan

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".

Penalties

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.

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The Minister also moved to reassure the drystock sector that new investment measures worth €400m would not be biased in favour of dairy enterprises

He said that all farming enterprises from sheep to pigs to beef would benefit from the investment allocation, although he admitted that it was likely that the take-up among dairy farmers would be greater due to the opportunities presented this year by the abolition of EU milk quotas.

The minister also firmly rejected a suggestion from the floor that his tenure at Agriculture House was favouring the factories and big agricultural producers operating in the "flat greenlands".

He highlighted the fact that over €100m in EU payments would be transferred from high earners to low earners during the next five years as the CAP reforms that he negotiated kicked in. He added that various top up aid schemes for farmers in marginal areas such as the islands were also introduced on his watch. Most of his budget and most of the CAP went to small and medium sized farm enterprises, he added.

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