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Ireland's Disadvantaged Area Scheme One of the Best-Funded in Europe

Speaking in the Seanad, the Minister for Food and Horticulture, Trevor Sargent TD, today described Ireland's disadvantaged area scheme as one of the best-funded schemes of its type in the European Union with funding of €220 million in 2009, despite the intense pressures caused by the current economic difficulties.

The Minister said that, with choices to be made between competing demands, the decision had reluctantly been taken to reduce expenditure on the disadvantaged area scheme in 2009. This had been done in a targeted way that ensures that 67,000 of the 102,000 farmers in the scheme will experience no reduction in their payments.

Minister Sargent also pointed out that all participants in the scheme will continue to benefit from the substantial increase of 8 per cent introduced in the rate of payments introduced in 2007 while almost half of those in receipt of disadvantaged area payments will also benefit under REPS, which includes a seventeen per cent increase in the level of payments made under REPS4.

In addition, over 47,000 participants will benefit from the suckler welfare scheme, which is a new stream of income for Irish farmers and in respect of which €77 million will be paid out in the next couple of months. Furthermore, farmers in disadvantaged areas will receive €920 million in single farm payments.

Date Released: 13 November 2007