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15 October 2008: Minister Smith Announces Advance Payments of €530 Million under the 2008 Single Payment Scheme

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith, TD, today announced the commencement of advance payments under the 2008 Single Payments Scheme. "I am particularly pleased that these payments, worth in excess of €532 million, have begun issuing today to 90% of SPS applicants, some six weeks earlier than the normal commencement date for SPS payments" the Minister said. "Given the difficult situation faced by farmers due to the very wet weather conditions this year, I am very thankful for the prompt and positive response by Commissioner Fischer Boel and her officials to my request for an advance payment. The earlier payment will be of much assistance to farmers' cash flow needs at this time" he added.

The Minister confirmed that advance payments would continue issuing until 30 November, with balancing payments beginning from 1 December."While payments are continuing to issue as cases become clear, I would again urge anybody who has received correspondence from my Department highlighting problems in relation to their application to respond without delay as by doing so, those cases can then be processed to finality and payments issued" the Minister said.

The Minister again reminded farmers of the new EU requirement that all payments made with effect from 16 October 2008 must be made via Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) directly to farmers' bank accounts."While the vast majority of farmers have already given their account details to my Department, there are still a sizable number who have yet to do so. Therefore, I strongly urge those remaining farmers to submit the necessary details to my Department without further delay. If the required details are not submitted, no payment can issue to the applicants involved."

Concluding, the Minister noted that these payments follow the payments under the Disadvantaged Areas Scheme, which began issuing three weeks ago."To date, over €227 million has been paid out under DAS. Payments continue to issue as cases are cleared, and I would urge farmers to respond to outstanding correspondence. In order to facilitate those farmers with specific queries relating to their SPS payments, a number of dedicated Lo-call numbers have been allocated" said the Minister.

The SPS Lo-call numbers are as follows:

Cavan, Clare, Limerick and Roscommon
Tel: 1890 252 235

Cork, Westmeath
Tel: 1890 252 236

Kildare, Laois, Leitrim, Longford, Waterford and Wicklow
Tel: 1890 252 242

Carlow, Kilkenny, Louth, Monaghan, and Sligo
Tel: 1890 252 242

Donegal, Dublin, Offaly and Wexford
Tel: 1890 252 244

Galway, Kerry, Mayo and Meath
Tel: 1890 200 502

Tipperary
Tel: 1890 252 598

Date Released: 15 October 2008