IFA Rural Development Chairman Flor McCarthy has called on Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney to come clean in relation to the changes he has made to the Disadvantaged Areas scheme which is still awaiting EU approval.
Mr McCarthy said, “The important issue for the Minister is to clarify the situation following reports that his proposal for stocking rate criteria changes has been turned down by the EU Commission. This issue has dragged on for the past few months and the priority for the Minister must be to ensure that payments are not held up later in the year.”
Flor McCarthy said an appeals system was promised to deal with the unfair retrospective 0.3 livestock unit/ha 2011 criteria to qualify for the 2012 scheme. Many farmers on poor land and commonage who were not in a position to meet these criteria must not be discriminated against.
Mr McCarthy said the payment of the Disadvantaged Areas must commence in the 3rd week of September.
“There should be no exception this year despite the fact that there are issues unresolved with the EU Commission,” he concluded.