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Minister Coughlan Announces €575 Million Payments Under the Single Payment Scheme

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Mary Coughlan T.D., today announced the commencement of balancing payments under the 2007 Single Payment Scheme.

The Minister explained that for the majority of applicants under the Single Payment Scheme, these payments, worth in excess of €575 million, represent the balancing 50% payment due under the Scheme. This brings the total amount paid under the 2007 Single Payment Scheme to in excess of €1.1 billion with a further €250 million paid under the Disadvantaged Areas Scheme. "Following my approach to the Commissioner earlier this year, agreement was reached on a 50% advance payment, payable from 16 October last," the Minister, said. "I was particularly conscious that the difficult weather conditions for farming, which prevailed in the late spring and summer, had adversely affected farmers' cash flows." Minister Coughlan confirmed that she is continuing to press the European Commission, as part of the CAP Health Check negotiations, to amend the Regulations in order to provide for an earlier payment date for the full amount of the Single Payment in future years. The Minister also confirmed that payments will continue to be processed by her Department in the coming weeks.

The Minister said that almost half of the payments under the Single Payment Scheme are being paid directly into farmers' bank accounts. Under current European Commission requirements, from mid October 2008 all payments to farmers must be made to a bank account so this is effectively the last year that the Single Payment Scheme will be paid by cheque. She pointed out that her Department has written to farmers, still being paid by cheque, requesting the submission of the authorisation to make payments to a bank account in order to meet this requirement. The Minister urged farmers to respond to this request and return their bank details to the Department as soon as possible.

The Minister concluded by referring to the on-line application facility, which operated on a pilot basis for the 2007 Single Payment and Disadvantaged Areas Schemes. "I am greatly encouraged by the response of farmers to the introduction of this facility, which was introduced on a somewhat restricted basis for the 2007 Schemes. However, given its success, I am determined that the facility will be vigorously promoted in advance of the closing date for the 2008 Schemes. It is my intention that all Single Payment and Disadvantaged Areas Scheme applicants will be written to in the coming weeks, outlining the benefits of the on-line facility for submitting applications and explaining the process of getting signed up to avail of it".

3 December, 2007

Date Released: 03 December 2007