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Written Answers. - Commonage Division.

Tuesday, 3 December 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 558 No. 4

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 172. Mr. Ring Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring  asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food Information on Joe Walsh Zoom on Joe Walsh  the Minister who dealt with the de-stocking requirement issue; and when it was finally decided. [24427/02]

Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mr. Walsh): Information on Joe Walsh Zoom on Joe Walsh In August 1998 my Department secured the approval of the European Commission for Supplementary Measure A of REPS, known as Measure A in the current scheme. Under this measure, farmers with commonage land in REPS qualify for generous payments of up to €242 per hectare. Farmers have been receiving these payments since 1999. The drawing up of commonage framework plans to establish the environmental condition of each commonage was a specific requirement of the 1998 agreement. The plans have been drawn up by expert teams each consisting of an agriculturalist and an ecologist. The exercise has been supervised by officials of my Department and of Dúchas to ensure consistency of approach. Where it is established that a commonage has suffered degradation because of overgrazing by sheep, the particular framework plan must set out the destocking required to achieve environmentally sustainable grazing levels.

[1034]

 173. Mr. Ring Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring  asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food Information on Joe Walsh Zoom on Joe Walsh  when negotiations started in relation to de-stocking. [24428/02]

Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mr. Walsh): Information on Joe Walsh Zoom on Joe Walsh Negotiations between my Department and the European Commission on Supplementary Measure A of REPS, known as Measure A in the current scheme, began in 1997 and my Department secured the Commission's approval for the measure in August 1998. Under this measure, farmers with commonage land in REPS qualify for generous payments of up to €242 per hectare. Farmers have been receiving these payments since 1999. The drawing up of commonage framework plans to establish the environmental condition of each commonage was a specific requirement of the 1998 agreement. The plans have been drawn up by expert teams each consisting of an agriculturalist and an ecologist. The exercise has been supervised by officials of my Department and of Dúchas to ensure consistency of approach. Where it is established that a commonage has suffered degradation because of overgrazing by sheep, the particular framework plan must set out the destocking required to achieve environmentally sustainable grazing levels.


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