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Smith confirms record number of REPS Participants to remain in Scheme

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Mr. Brendan Smith TD has confirmed that all existing 62,000 participants in REPS will remain in the scheme until their five-year contracts expire.

"62,000 is the highest ever level of participation in REPS and the 17,000 who came into the scheme in 2009 is a record number. All of the participants who entered this year will remain in it for the full five years. Although REPS 4 is now closed to new entrants, those who are coming to the end of their five year contracts will, from 2010, be eligible for a new agri-environment scheme. Contrary to some misinformed commentary, REPS is not being abolished and payments will remain for the next five years", the Minister said.

Minister Smith also said that he had signalled last April that he would be carrying out a review of the REPS scheme in the context of the overall level of funding that would be available to him.

"I cannot ignore the critical state of the public finances and as Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, it is my responsibility to ensure that limited resources are targeted to the maximum effect. Since 1994, over €3 billion has been allocated to REPS, making it one of the most generously funded in the EU.  I would have liked to have been able to keep it open to new entrants, however, it is now oversubscribed and I could not continue to keep it open, given the current budgetary situation", the Minister concluded.

Date Released: 10 July 2009