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€370 Million in Single Farm Payments to Commence Tomorrow

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD, today confirmed that his Department will commence payment of the 30 per cent balancing payments under the Single Payment Scheme tomorrow (Tuesday 1st December).

Minister Smith said that the balancing payments would be worth some €370 million, bringing to €1.23 billion to total paid out to almost 122,000 farmers since 16 October. Minister Smith said that "given the circumstances experienced by farmers this year, I am particularly pleased that, in the light of the EU Commission decision, I was in a position to bring forward advance payments of more than €864 million by a full six weeks sooner than is provided for under the rules of the scheme, while the level of advance payment, at 70 per cent, was unprecedented."

The Minister also said that he would be requesting the approval of the Dáil on Thursday of this week for a Supplementary Estimate for his Department which would "allow me to bring forward some €85 million in payments under the Farm Waste Management Scheme and the Rural Environment Protection Scheme (REPS), which would otherwise would have fallen to be paid in the New Year. If approved, my Department's spending on REPS this year will reach a record level of €369 million."

Following his visit to flood-affected areas of Co Galway on Saturday last, the Minister confirmed that funding of €2 million is in place for a fodder aid scheme and he reminded farmers that application forms were available from this Department's website as well as the local offices of his Department and Teagasc and said that some had already been distributed.  The Minister concluded: "I hope that payments can commence without delay so that farmers who lost fodder to start to replace it as soon as possible."

Date Released: 30 November 2009