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Minister Coveney Announces Commencement of Payments Worth €14m under the 2013 Grassland Sheep Scheme

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, TD, today confirmed that payments worth €14 million under the 2013 Grassland Sheep Scheme would begin issuing to the farmers concerned as and from Thursday, 12 December. Minister Coveney said that this funding would “provide a very important and timely boost to support incomes in the sheep sector over”.

The supply of lambs is a key and fundamental element underpinning the sheep and lamb processing industry.  This is a hugely valuable export-orientated part of the Irish agri-food sector, supplying a high-value product to consumer markets throughout Europe.  The industry is worth around €250 million to the Irish economy and over two thirds of the product is exported. “I am confident that this Scheme, which focuses on those flocks with breeding ewes, continues to play a significant part in  maintaining the breeding flock and acts as a real incentive to farmers anxious to maintain their production levels, which are essential for the future of a viable sheep industry in this country”. Noting that Irish sheep farmers are facing significant production and demand pressures at present, Minister Coveney pointed to the need to arrest the decline in reducing flock numbers, income pressures and producers leaving the sector in order to maintain a viable industry. “I believe that the Grassland Sheep Scheme is of particular importance in helping achieve these aims and will provide a much needed and very valuable income support to an important and vulnerable sector”  the Minister said.

Concluding, Minister Coveney confirmed that he has obtained an additional €1 million in funding for the 2014 Scheme, “I am very pleased to confirm that the budget for the 2014 Scheme will be increased to €15 million, further evidence of my determination to assist the sector” the Minister said.

Date Released: 11 December 2013