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Minister Wallace announces commencement of payments under the National Energy Premium Scheme

Mary Wallace TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food with special responsibility for forestry, today announced the commencement of payments under the National Energy Premium Scheme. The payments are being made initially to 437 farmers and are worth approximately €341,000. A total of 550 farmers are potentially eligible under the scheme and payments will continue to issue as further cases are cleared. Those farmers who are not yet cleared for payment will already have been written to regarding issues highlighted during the processing of their applications. "I would urge anyone who has yet to respond to do so without further delay, in order that their payments may be released. To assist in dealing with outstanding queries, I have had a dedicated telephone number assigned," Minister Wallace added. The telephone number concerned is 057 8678709.

The National Energy Premium, which is worth €80 per hectare, is fully funded by the National Exchequer and is in addition to the EU funded Energy Crops Scheme which will be paid in January, 2008. There is further assistance available to farmers under the Bio-Energy Scheme, which is also nationally funded and, under which, financial support of up to €1,450 per hectare is available to assist with the planting of willow and miscanthus. The number of applications for establishment grants reached the 1,400-hectare target set for the first year of the scheme.

13 November 2007

Date Released: 13 November 2007