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06/19/2014 12:00:00 AM


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Agriculture Scheme Eligibility

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Eligibility for

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Agriculture Schemes\Eligibility for

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Snippet Contents:

I wish to be helpful on the matter. I assure Deputy McConalogue that we are open to hearing suggestions on the scheme. Last night at 8 p.m. we met the farmers who were protesting. In the next two weeks we will meet the IFA to discuss the matter. We have agreed on a course of action. The programme has not yet gone to Brussels but when it does it must be acceptable in order to qualify for grant aid. Most of the money for the scheme will come from Europe. We should not send out the message that the scheme is an income-based one. The scheme is an environmental one and it will not be accepted unless we can prove the measures it contains will help the environment.
One cannot compare it with the previous REP scheme to which anyone could sign up. It involved a more simplified approach but we are living in tighter economic times and we must justify the money that is being spent. Deputy McConalogue did not mention the 80% and 50% options. The planner who is required for scheme applications can bring together those who own the commonage. There is a way around the problem from an environmental point of view. We are open for consultation. We will meet the IFA. I will facilitate anyone who wishes to discuss the matter but one must remember that the bottom line is that it is an environmental scheme and it is wrong to send out the message that it is an income-related scheme. It might be treated in that way by some when they are lobbying, which is fair enough, but the reality is that when the plan goes to Brussels it must stand up from an environmental perspective. The measures it contains must be viable for the scheme to be successful. If the scheme is rejected money will not be sanctioned. I hope that clarifies the position. We are open to talk to people in general and to the farming organisations.