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Minister Smith Rejects Misleading Claims on CAP Health Check

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD, today described as "totally misleading" suggestions that Irish farmers would lose money from the CAP Health Check. "In fact Irish farmers will obtain increased payments of over €70 million over the next four years," he said.

"Irish farmers will not lose one cent from the increase in modulation," the Minister said "this is a redistribution of money from the Single Farm Payment Scheme to other farm payment schemes such as REPS" In the CAP Health Check, it was agreed to increase modulation on a phased basis from five per cent to 10 per cent for most single farm payments. As this process will involve the transfer of funds from one type of payment to another, it will be income-neutral for farmers as a whole. The Minister also emphasised that over 50,000 farmers will not be affected by the change in modulation.

The Minister said that the gain to farmers would come from "the access to unused funds in our single farm payment ceilings. It was a tough battle in the negotiations to get access to these funds and I am very pleased that this was agreed in the final meeting this week" said the Minister. Currently the single farm ceilings for many Member States, including Ireland, cannot be fully utilised because of the complex rules in the single payment scheme.

In the Health Check, it was agreed that these funds will now be released to be used in agricultural sectors and areas under particular pressure. "This is additional money that will go directly into farmers' pockets through new measures, as under current rules it cannot be accessed." The Minister said that the additional money would amount to €23 million per year from 2010, with a smaller amount in 2009, and possibly more than this over the following few years.

Date Released: 21 November 2008