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Minister Coughlan announces Schedule of Farm Payments

- ADVANCE PAYMENTS UNDER THE 2006 SINGLE PAYMENTS SCHEME -
- PAYMENTS UNDER THE DISADVANTAGED AREAS SCHEME -
- REFUND OF MODULATION DEDUCTIONS -

The Minister for Agriculture and Food, Mary Coughlan T.D., confirmed that today's meeting of the EU Management Committee on Direct Payments in Brussels has approved her request that provision be made for an advance payment under the 2006 Single Payment Scheme. "I am particularly pleased at the support our proposal received from the Commission and the other Member States. This decision allows us to make advance payments, at a rate of 50%, to those applicants whose applications are confirmed fully clear, with effect from 16 October, with balancing payments being made with effect from 1 December", the Minister said. "I am also encouraged by the commitment given by the Commission to examine payment arrangements for 2007 and subsequent years. My intention is to strongly press for full payments from the earliest possible date each year, 16 October" she added.

The Minister also announced the commencement of payments to farmers under the 2006 Disadvantaged Areas Scheme (DAS). "These payments are worth in the region of €250 million and are payable to in excess of 100,000 farmers", the Minister explained. "I expect that a very significant proportion of eligible farmers will receive their payments in the coming days. However, there are some who appear ineligible under the stocking provisions; these farmers can submit appropriate evidence to my Department's Portlaoise Office, following which their payments will then be released" the Minister continued. "In order to facilitate those farmers with specific queries relating to their DAS payments, I have had dedicated Lo-call numbers allocated" she explained.

The Lo-call numbers are as follows:

1890 252 242: Kildare, Laois, Leitrim, Longford, Waterford and Wicklow;
1890 252 243: Carlow, Kilkenny, Louth, Monaghan, and Sligo;
1890 252 244: Donegal, Dublin, Offaly and Wexford;
1890 252 235: Clare, Cavan, and Limerick;
1890 252 236: Cork, Westmeath;
1890 200 502: Galway, Kerry, Mayo, Meath, Tipperary and Roscommon.

The Minister explained that the 2006 DAS payments are being further supplemented by funds collected under the Modulation process of the Single Payment Scheme. Under the Modulation rules, Member States were re-allocated particular sums, based on specific criteria. While it is obligatory that Modulation be deducted from all Single Payments, those in receipt of less than €5,000 under the Single Payment Scheme are entitled to a full refund. "These refunds, worth in the region of ?14 million, were already made to all eligible farmers" the Minister said. "The pool of funds remaining after this refund is available at Community level for redistribution. In our case, the sum involved for 2006 is ?18.5 million and I have decided to allocate this by way of a top-up to the 2006 DAS payments. However, it is my intention for 2007 and subsequent years to explore further appropriate avenues for the re-distribution of this additional funding", the Minister explained.

19 September, 2006

Date Released: 19 September 2006