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"One to One" Assistance on completing Single Payment/Disadvantaged Areas Forms

The Minister for Agriculture and Food, Mary Coughlan T.D., today urged any farmers with outstanding queries in relation to the completion of 2007 SPS application forms to avail of the additional one-to-one customer service initiatives taken by her Department.

Minister Coughlan said: "My Department has organised countrywide Single Farm Payment consultation sessions over the next two weeks for farmers who have queries they wish to have answered before completing their 2007 SPS application forms. Experienced staff from the Single Payment Unit are available for one-to-one personal consultations with individual farmers at each of the venues publicised from 6.00 pm to 10.00 pm. Farmers are assured that their queries will be dealt with in private by staff who are familiar with the queries that farmers have and have a working knowledge of the entire SPS. This facility will be of benefit to farmers with queries on the Single Farm Payment, including queries on
- their Single Farm Payment entitlements;
- the transfer or trading of the entitlements;
- stacking of entitlements;
- land declarations."

The Minister also took the opportunity to remind farmers that a Helpline facility dealing with Single Payment queries is available between until 4 May 2007 - the deadline for receipt of applications. The Helplines - 1890 252 242 and 1890 252 233 - will be open Monday to Friday from 6.00 pm to 10.00 pm and from 1.00 pm to 6 pm on Saturday and Sunday.

The Minister continued: "I would urge farmers to avail of the opportunity afforded by the additional opening hours of my Department's lo-call number helplines and the availability of experienced staff throughout the country and resolve any queries prior to the submission of their application form. The resolution of such queries at this stage will assist in the processing of such applications prior to payment later in the year."

Minister Coughlan concluded by reminding farmers to submit their 2007 applications by the closing date of Friday, 4th May.

19 April, 2007

Date Released: 19 April 2007