IFA Rural Development Chairman Flor McCarthy has said that the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney must ensure that all applicants who apply for the current phase of GLAS are accepted into the scheme even if this means allowing applications in after Friday (May 22nd).
The IFA Rural Development Chairman said that given that there have been so many changes to the specification and Terms and Conditions since the scheme was first opened at the end of February, flexibility must be shown in allowing all farmers into the scheme. Also, the problems with the IT system have not helped in maximising uptake.
Flor McCarthy said that the Minister must aim for his original target of 30,000 joining and 50,000 joining in the current RDP. The Minister must also ensure that next phase of GLAS is open after 29th May with system remaining open for Planners to continue to do plans which will have a start of January 1st next.
Securing a GLAS payment later in the year is vital for low income farmers as all direct payments play a critical role.
Flor McCarthy also pointed out that there is a €20m allocation in this year’s Book of Estimates for GLAS. IFA will be making the case later this year that this needs to increase substantially in 2016.