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Written Answers - Agri-Environmental Options Scheme

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 762 No. 1

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 164.  Deputy Tom Fleming Information on Tom Fleming Zoom on Tom Fleming  asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney  if he will immediately reopen a new agri environment options scheme to allow farmers whose REP scheme contracts have already expired to continue to improve their farms in an environmentally friendly manner; if he will recognise the importance of the scheme to many farmers on low incomes who have already been hit with cuts to other farm income supports; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19679/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney I am fully committed to agri-environment schemes which both put environmentally-friendly farming to the forefront and which recognise the vital role farmers play in delivering public goods for the benefit of society which have a role in supporting the farm incomes of participating farmers.

I am currently considering the possibility of re-opening the Agri-environmental Options Scheme on an amended basis or limited scale in 2012. The full year cost of any new scheme will arise on the 2013 Estimate for my Department and accordingly, the decision will be taken in the context of my Department’s expenditure ceiling for 2013 as agreed by the Government, and in particular, on how a new scheme might be funded within the reduced funding and resulting pressures on the Vote. I will make an announcement on this matter in due course.


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