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Minister Smith Confirms Payment Of Over €800 Million To Almost 114,000 Farmers In Single Farm Payment

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD, today confirmed that advance payments of 70 per cent in the Single Payment Scheme, worth over €800 million, will issue on Monday next, 19th October, to almost 114,000 farmers.

Following on from the payment to date of  €200 million to some 92,000 farmers under the Disadvantaged Areas Scheme, the Minister said that this is further welcome news for farmers and for the rural economy as a whole.

Minister Smith said that, during negotiations with the European Commission some time ago, he had been "acutely conscious of the difficulties being experienced by farmers and argued for the earlier payment of and a higher level of payment in the advance payment".  Mr Smith described the outcome as "very satisfactory, with advance payments being made a full six weeks earlier than provided for under the rules of the Scheme and the level of advance payment set at an unprecedented 70 per cent."

Minister Smith expressed his appreciation to the EU Commission for acknowledging the reality of the difficult financial position of farmers across the European Union at this time. "This advance payment is a positive response and will be of great benefit to recipients in the context of monetary difficulties that are particularly real for many farmers in 2009".

The Minister also referred to a further positive change in relation to modulation deductions in respect of 2009 payments. "In previous years, a linear modulation deduction was taken from every single payment made. Deductions pertaining to the first €5,000 of payment were then refunded later in the scheme year. From 2009 onwards, the modulation deduction will only apply to cases with a net payment amount of over €5,000. The change will mean that Irish farmers will no longer have to wait for up to six months for a modulation refund, which amounts to almost €35 million in 2009."

Following the issue of the advance payments, Minister Smith confirmed that the 30 per cent balancing payments will begin issuing with effect from 1 December. While he said he was pleased with the progress being made by his Department on the processing of the 2009 Single Payment Scheme, a number of applications are still awaiting further input from the farmers concerned. "In order to ensure that payments under the Single Payment Scheme are maximised between now and the end of the year, I would urge all applicants who have received queries from my Department in connection with their SPS application to respond as a matter of urgency with the necessary clarifications". 

Date Released: 14 October 2009