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Minister Smith Assures Farmers Department Continuing to Process Payments

Significant Improvement in DAS payments

SPS payments up to €517 million to 111,500 applicants 

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD insisted today that his Department was "continuing to process single farm and disadvantaged area payment applications" and said that "significant progress had been made in recent days, with an additional 9,610 disadvantaged area payments made since last Friday, worth €6.8 million. A total of 89,096 farmers have now been paid".

Minister Smith also confirmed that his Department had now processed "111,500 SPS applications with payments worth in excess of €517 million having been issued in just two weeks".

The Minister said that he wanted to "reassure farmers that his Department was committed to allocating such resources as are necessary to ensure that the essential digitisation of applicants' maps onto the Department's Land Parcel Identification System (LPIS) and the processing of payments are proceeding as quickly as possible".

The Minister reiterated his previous warning that "any failings or shortcomings in LPIS would leave the Department open to the very real risk of significant fines.  I am not prepared to take such a risk and I will not compromise the value of direct payments to Irish farmers".

Minister Smith said that he has "set a very demanding schedule of payments for the disadvantaged area scheme, single payment scheme and the new grassland sheep scheme from September to December 2010.  I want to reiterate my intention to adhere to this schedule.  To that end, and in the meantime, my Department will continue to make multiple payment runs, under all the various schemes, on a weekly basis to pay those farmers whose applications are fully processed and cleared".

The Minister also confirmed that he had put in place an arrangement whereby farmers not in receipt of their full 50 per cent SPS advance payment (can receive a supplementary advance payment following the re-digitisation of their land parcels.  In the past, such farmers would have had to wait until 1 December before they could be paid their additional payment as well as their balancing payment. Minister Smith said that this approach "is consistent with my commitment to ensuring that payments are issued to farmers as soon as they become eligible for payment".

Concluding, the Minister said that he appreciated the value and importance of the schemes to Irish farmers, which was "why I sought and secured EU approval to make an advance SPS payment to Irish farmers" and said that "Ireland was among the very first countries throughout the EU to be in a position to make such payments".

 

Date Released: 03 November 2010