IFA Tells Minister Coveney That Ireland’s Rural Development Plan Must Be a Front-runner for Early Approval

IFA President Eddie Downey has pressed the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney to put maximum pressure on the EU Commission to get Ireland’s Rural Development Plan agreed so that the various farm measures such as GLAS & TAMS can be implemented without delay.

At a meeting with Minister Coveney today, IFA President Eddie Downey said that the Rural Development Plan is a vital part of CAP reform and the schemes which will form part of it compliment the Pillar I Single Farm Payment for farmers in certain regions and those on low incomes.

Eddie Downey said that the delay in getting agreement on the 2014-2020 RDP is unacceptable and he called for the early implementation of all measures. It is now 5 months since the Plan was sent to Brussels so an early agreement is now vital.

At a meeting of the EU Advisory Committee on Rural Development in Brussels last week, Rural Development Chairman Flor McCarthy impressed on the Commission the urgency of getting the €4bn Rural Development Programme approved. This is particularly relevant for thousands of REPS 4 farmers who are finishing their REPS 4 plans at the end of this year. The GLAS scheme must be put in place as otherwise a serious income situation will arise given the importance of the agri-environment measure particularly to drystock farmers.

Flor McCarthy also said that other key measures are anxiously awaited under the RDP, such as the TAMS II Farm Investment Scheme and the Knowledge Transfer Measures for all sectors and other elements of Rural Development support which are vital for the low farm income sector.

“The Rural Development Plan is worth over €4bn with an EU contribution of €2.1bn over the 7 year period and the payments are complimentary to the Pillar I payments. It is vitally important that all of this funding is utilised with significant payments being made next year” he concluded.

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