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Minister Coughlan secures European Commission Agreement for advance payments under the 2007 Single Payments Scheme and announces commencement of payments under the Disadvantaged Areas Scheme

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries 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 2007 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 subsequent years in the context of the forthcoming Health Check on the CAP. My objective will be to enable full payments under the Single Payment Scheme from 16 October in future years" she added.

The Minister explained that her approach to the Agriculture Commissioner had been prompted by the very wet summer, which seriously affected farming. "I was particularly conscious of the difficulties caused for farmers, with crop growth being impeded, significant delays in production of winter fodder, fodder intended for use next winter being fed to animals and some animals being housed early, as land is too wet to graze" the Minister said.

The Minister also announced the commencement of payments to farmers under the 2007 Disadvantaged Areas Scheme (DAS). "These payments are worth in the region of €250 million and are payable to over 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.

The Minister again urged farmers to reply quickly to any letters from her Department in relation to Single Payment or DAS problems. "In order to facilitate those farmers with specific queries relating to their SPS/DAS payments, I have had dedicated Lo-call numbers allocated" she explained.

The Lo-call numbers dealing with land declarations are as follows:

1890 252 235: Clare, Cavan, and Limerick;
1890 252 236: Cork, Westmeath;
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 200 502: Galway, Kerry, Mayo, Meath and Roscommon;
1890 250 598: Tipperary.

19 September, 2007

Date Released: 19 September 2007