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2006 Single Payment Scheme/2006 Disadvantaged Areas Scheme: Extension of Closing Date for Receipt of Applications

The Minister for Agriculture and Food, Ms Mary Coughlan TD, today announced an extension to the closing date for the receipt of applications under the 2006 Single Payment Scheme and the 2006 Disadvantaged Areas Scheme, to Monday, 15 May 2006.

While the closing date for the Schemes had originally been set at Monday, 24 April 2006, the Minister explained: "I am now aware that meeting the original closing date is a problem for some farmers. I have also been particularly conscious of the demands that the proposed closing date may have placed on those farmers who are due to benefit from the incorporation of the decoupled sugar element of the Single Payment Scheme, following the reform of the sugar sector."

The Minister explained that the new closing date of 15 May 2006 is the latest date allowed under EU rules for the receipt of applications. "There is also provision for us to accept applications for a further 25-day period, up to 9 June 2006", the Minister added. "However, a penalty of a 1% loss in payments per working day that an application is received late will apply and an application received after 9 June 2006 will suffer a total loss of payment, except in cases of acceptable Force Majeure. The late penalty is 4% per day in the case of sugar beet compensation as it is the first year of inclusion of the compensation in the Single Payment Scheme". She, therefore, urged farmers to ensure that they lodged their applications before 15 May 2006, in order to avoid the application of late penalties.

In conclusion, Minister Coughlan said that she was pleased to state that well in excess of 30,000 completed 2006 application forms had already been submitted by farmers. She urged farmers to continue to submit their applications as quickly as possible and not to wait until near the new deadline. The timely submission of applications enables the Department to commence processing the applications, which will greatly assist meeting payment targets later on in the year.

12 April 2006

Date Released: 12 April 2006