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Minister Coveney confirms direct aid payments of €1.4 billion

In reviewing the level of direct aid payments made to farmers in the past ten weeks, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, TD, today confirmed that these payments currently amount to in excess of €1.4 billion.

By any measure, this is both a very significant sum in itself and a very commendable achievement in terms of delivery” said the Minister. “The reason these levels of payments can be successfully delivered year-on-year is due, in very large part, to the very good working relationship between farmers and my Department. It is self evident that were this not the case it would simply not be possible to achieve these results”, he added. The Minister confirmed that to date, over 121,250 farmers have been paid in excess of €1,193 million under the 2012 Single Payment Scheme, while some €192.8 million has been paid to over 87,000 farmers under the 2012 Disadvantaged Areas Scheme, with payments continuing under both Schemes, as individual cases are confirmed eligible for payment. In addition, the Minister confirmed that payments under both the 2012 Grassland Sheep Scheme and the 2012 Beef Technology Adoption Programme, worth some €18 million and €5 million respectively, are scheduled to issue shortly.

Minister Coveney pointed to the role technology is continuing to play in providing an improved service for farmers, ultimately leading to speedier payments. “I continue to push for the greater use of technology in the delivery of the Schemes my Department administers”, the Minister explained, adding “it is particularly reassuring to note the continued annual increase in the numbers availing of the on-line facility to apply for the Single Payment Scheme and the Disadvantaged Areas Scheme, which again reached record numbers in 2012, when over 65,000 applications were submitted electronically. The range of benefits in using the on-line system is tremendous, from guaranteed delivery of the application, the reduced likelihood of making clerical errors (thanks to the built-in validations) and the ability to map changes to land parcels being claimed”. As a further development, the Minister noted the use made during 2012 of the Text Alert system, the use of which will be ramped up in 2013. “Ideally, the more farmers that sign up for this facility, the better” the Minister noted, adding “we live in a very mobile world nowadays, with most people being very familiar and comfortable with text messaging - by maximising the use of texts, we can greatly further improve the service offered”. The Minister confirmed that a campaign will be launched in the New Year aimed at significantly increasing the numbers sign up to the text service, which currently stands at 65,000.

Date Released: 12 December 2012