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Minister Smith presses for advance payment of Single Payment

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Mr Brendan Smith TD, today met the EU Agriculture Commissioner, Mariann Fischer Boel and again pressed the case for an advance payment of the 2008 Single Payment. The Minister has already formally applied for an advance payment to over 123,000 Irish farmers in 2008.

Minister Smith and Commissioner Fischer Boel are both attending a Council of EU Agriculture Ministers meeting in Annecy, France today and tomorrow.

Minister Smith said he was encouraged by his meeting with Commissioner Fischer Boel and said he was very hopeful that his application for an advance payment would be presented at a meeting of the EU Management Committee on Direct Payments on Wednesday next, 24th September and receive formal approval shortly thereafter.

The Minister said that his approach to the Agriculture Commissioner to advance 50 per cent of the payment has been prompted by the very wet summer, which seriously affected farming. Minister Smith said, "I was particularly conscious of the difficulties caused for farmers, with crop growth and harvesting being impeded and significant delays in production of winter fodder."

The Minister said that if his application is approved, his Department would commence payment of 50 per cent of the 2008 Single Payment Scheme in all cleared cases with effect from 16th October, with the balancing payments being made from 1st December.

Date Released: 23 September 2008