By using this website, you consent to our use of cookies. For more information on cookies see our privacy policy page.

Text Size: a a
Home A-Z Index Subscribe/RSS Contact Us Twitter logo small white bird

Record payments under REPS in 2005

- Minister Coughlan highlights wider benefits of Scheme -

The Minister for Agriculture and Food, Mary Coughlan T.D., announcing record payments to farmers under the Rural Environment Protection Scheme (REPS) in 2005 - said today that the scheme was delivering benefits to society as a whole and not just to farmers. She said that farmers in REPS undertake to farm at a higher standard than normal good farming practice which is designed to preserve the environment and enhance biodiversity. This leads to better water quality, an increase in wild birds and other species, and generally a more varied and natural landscape.

Minister Coughlan added that farmers received nearly €283 million in REPS payments in 2005, which is the highest figure since REPS began in 1994, and represents an increase of 36% on the previous year. During the year, the number of farmers in the Scheme also broke previous records, passing the 48,000 mark at the beginning of November. The allocation for REPS in her Department's Estimate for 2005 had been €271 million, and it had been necessary to get approval from the Department of Finance for the extra spending. She said that by any standards REPS 3 is a major success and since decoupling it has become an attractive option for more and more farmers.

The Minister said in conclusion that she expected further growth in REPS in 2006. "I have secured an allocation of €323 million for 2006 and this will accommodate at least 55,000 farmers. Once again I would urge those not already in REPS to think about it seriously, because the present Scheme will close to new entrants at the end of 2006. We will be negotiating a new Scheme with the EU Commission during the coming months, but in the meantime the Commission have confirmed to us that farmers can continue to join REPS 3 right up to the end of the year and secure full five-year contracts at the existing payment rates."

9 January, 2006

Date Released: 06 January 2006