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Minister Smith announces first payments under REPS 4

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD, announced today that the first payments to farmers in REPS 4 would be made next week. Some 10,800 farmers had applied for REPS 4 by the closing date of 15th May last year.

Minister Smith pointed out that under new EU rules, all administrative checks for these had to be completed before the first payments could issue. Approximately a quarter of the applications were 'paper' applications and required manual checking, whereas those created on the eREPS computerised planning system could be screened electronically.

The first payments to be released by the Department will be those that require no correction. The Minister expressed his disappointment at the fact that a significant number of REPS 4 applications have not come through the administrative checks, and will have to be corrected before they can be paid. ¿Recent EU audits have emphasised the need to scrutinise all applications very carefully,¿ the Minister said, ¿and it is a matter of concern to me that we are finding errors and omissions on this scale. I have asked my officials to review the results and consider what can be done to bring about an improvement in the quality of applications and farm plans submitted.¿

21 January 2009

Date Released: 21 January 2009