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Single Payment Scheme/Disadvantaged Areas Scheme 2006 - Closing Date of 15 May 2006

The Minister for Agriculture and Food, Mary Coughlan TD, today reminded farmers that the closing date for receipt by her Department of applications under the 2006 Single Payment Scheme/Disadvantaged Areas Scheme is next Monday, 15 May 2006. In excess of ?1.5 billion will be paid to farmers under these Schemes in 2006.

"It is critical for farmers to ensure that applications are lodged in time, in order to avoid penalties being applied," the Minister said. "My Department is obliged to apply a penalty of 1% per working day where an application is received after 15 May. Furthermore, any application received after 10 June will be subject to a 100% penalty."

The Minister urged farmers who had yet to submit an application - in the region of 10,000 - to do so immediately, even if it is incomplete. "Farmers should realise that amendments to application forms submitted on time can be made up to 31 May 2006 without incurring penalty, so there is no reason to delay submitting a form, even if all the information required is not available," the Minister explained. "Amendment forms can be used for adding extra land parcel/parcels or withdrawing land parcels or plots or to change use of a parcel or to correct obvious/innocent mistakes, (such as forgetting to enter a start date)," the Minister added.

Amendment forms are available from any Department or Teagasc office or from the Department's website http://www.agriculture.gov.ie

The Minister concluded by confirming that application forms may be delivered to any of her Department's offices and reminded farmers to retain a copy of their application for their own records and a copy of their Swift Post receipt, if posting the application. "Under the 2005 Single Payment Scheme, almost 1,000 farmers suffered penalties due to the late submission of applications. Such penalties are easily avoided and essentially unnecessary, therefore, it is in every farmer's interest to ensure that applications are lodged on time."

Date Released: 12 May 2006