Emergency Aid for Farmers Raised in Dáil with the Minister
Statement by Brendan Griffin TD (FG) Kerry
Wed Sep 26th 2012
KERRY Fine Gael TD, Brendan Griffin, is welcoming the announcement by Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, of the payment of the Disadvantaged Areas Scheme (DAS) and the reopening of the Agri-Environmental Options Scheme (AEOS).
The announcement came as Deputy Griffin raised the issue of assistance for farmers in the Dáil yesterday (Tuesday) and asked if the EU would be able to intervene with assistance following the very wet summer.
“€13.77 million will be provided to 5,552 farmers in Kerry under the initial 2012 DAS payments. This is the third highest amount paid to any county and represents almost 9% of the national total payment.
“I also welcome the reopening of the AEOS to new entrants. I am glad that the Minister has been able to provide €20m for the scheme which will open shortly for applications. AEOS will build on both the Rural Environment Protection Scheme (REPS) and both AEOS 1 and 2.
“I acknowledge that a larger budget would be ideal but unfortunately, the reality is that the Department’s budget is severely constrained.
“Through Minister’s Questions in the Dáil yesterday, I asked Minister Coveney if emergency assistance would be available to Ireland from the EU following the appallingly wet summer and autumn that has adversely affected farms throughout the country. In his response, the Minister said that there is The EU Solidarity Fund but that this is aimed primarily at providing funding to Member States in the event of a natural disaster.
“He emphasised that following the bad summer he sought and received EU approval for the advance payment of the 2012 Single Payment, which will enable payment to issue immediately following 15 October and will represent the early payment of some €600 million to farmers.
“Minister Coveney confirmed that payments worth some €154 under the Disadvantaged Area Scheme will begin on 26th September, saying that this funding will provide a boost to the rural economy and will benefit all areas of the country.
“He said that it is too early to estimate at this stage the level of total payments which will be made under this scheme in 2012. He added that REPS payments in respect of 2011 are up to date and that a total of €64 million has been paid out to-date and that he envisages that by the end of 2012 a further €121 million will be spent.
“Minister Coveney also confirmed that AEOS payments are well advanced and continue to issue as quickly as possible and that to-date, €23 million has been paid and a further €34 million will be paid out before the end of 2012. He said that his intention is to ensure that payments in respect of 2012 are made on the earliest possible date.
“The Minister added that the closing dates for spreading of chemical and organic fertiliser have been extended to 30 September and 31 October respectively and that this will help farmers to make the most of the grass growing season.