Ireland in Danger of Falling Behind on Rural Development Plan Unless Minister Applies Pressure on Commission

With the EU Commission having agreed a further 18 Rural Development Plans in the last week, IFA President Eddie Downey has called on the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney to apply the maximum pressure on the EU Commission to get Ireland’s plan agreed without any further delay.

He said, “The number of plans agreed is now 27 out of a total 118 National and regional Plans. Farmers cannot be expected to wait indefinitely for approval given that vital farm schemes urgently need to be implemented to support low-income farmers. Approval for the Irish plan must be prioritised by the Government as it is now over seven months since it was sent to Brussels”.

IFA Rural Development Chairman Flor McCarthy said, “The promised letter of comfort for GLAS by both Commissioner Hogan and Minister Coveney must be forthcoming, as time is running out to maximise uptake as the closing date is likely to be mid-May. IFA will be insisting that all farmers are allowed into the scheme and the rules and specifications must not debar any farmers from joining. Most farmers have received their last REPS payment and they now require a meaningful GLAS payment for 2015”.

“In relation to other schemes such as ANC’s, Knowledge transfer, TAMS and the Beef Data and Geonomics scheme which also form part of the €4bn Rural Development programme. Early introduction is vital as all of these schemes play a vital role in respectively supporting low income, helping farmers to achieve greater efficiency, supporting vital on-farm investment, and helping support the suckler herd.”

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