IFA President Eddie Downey said confirmation of the letter of comfort from the EU Commission to Ireland for our seven-year, €4bn RDP 2014-2020, must be seized upon by the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney to put in place all rural development schemes without delay.
Eddie Downey said it was vitally important that the outstanding schemes such as TAMS, Knowledge Transfer, Beef Data and Genomics, targeted agri environment schemes and ANC improvements on off shore islands are implemented. It is now up to Minister Coveney to ensure that farmers have access to all schemes under the RDP.
Meanwhile, IFA Rural Development Chairman Flor McCarthy said that clarification on the land eligibility must be immediately sorted out as there is a lot of uncertainty among farmers who want to avail of both Pillar I and Pillar II schemes in 2015.
“The lack of clarity on this issue has led to disallowances in the past. No farmer should have a fine imposed restrospectively, and individual farmers and the country cannot be exposed in the future.”
IFA Hill Committee Chairman Pat Dunne said that one of the issues which has to be addressed is securing a payment for private non designated mountain land which the current GLAS scheme excludes. Also the GLAS+ €2,000 top-up should be available to more farmers and the targeted output scheme should play an important role for farmers who have a lot of designated land.
Pat Dunne said that the flexibilities in place for commonage farmers should ensure that more farmers in these areas will qualify for the maximum payment of €5,000. The payment for commonage areas will be paid on the gross area which will be important for increasing the payment at farm level.