Fine Gael deputy Sean Kyne said this week that he understands the decision made by the minister of agriculture to cut REPS 4 payments by 10 per cent in order to protect other schemes.
“REPS 4 is quite a generous scheme and its protection was not realistic in light of the necessity to save monies within the Department of Agriculture,” said Deputy Kyne who added that the suckler welfare scheme has been kept intact and that this was an acknowledgement of the importance of the suckler beef herd to agriculture.
“Changes have been made to the DAS regarding eligibility but the overall payment rate and the number of eligible hectares have been kept intact. The increases in stocking rates required for the participation will take into account commonages and SAC lands in Connemara and also the destocking programmes in certain parts of Connemara. This increase will not apply to those farms which have large areas of SAC and commonages where a lower stocking rate is required.”
Deputy Kyne added that he will be pressing hard for a new AEOS scheme in 2012, to be paid in 2013 for those farmers leaving REPS 3, particularly on designated lands and commonages. He said that the Agriculture minister has reopened the TAMS scheme which is available for such initiatives as sheep fencing, with immediate effect
Deputy Kyne concluded: “Minister Coveney has been clear on the need to protect active farmers and those producing food to the best capability that their land allows.”