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Minister Coveney Announces the Opening of 2012 Single Payment Online Application Facility

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, today announced the opening of iNet, his Department's online application facility for the Single Payment Scheme.

"I am delighted to be in a position to announce the opening of iNet for 2012" the Minister said, noting that "this is the earliest opening date for iNet since the system was initially introduced in 2007". The Minister noted that over 54,000 applications were submitted through iNet under the 2011 Scheme, representing a cumulative seven-fold increase in the five years the facility has been available.

"Initially, farmers and their approved agents were attracted to iNet by the fact that it guaranteed immediate, verifiable receipt by my Department of their applications and, through the system of in-built validations, significantly reduced the numbers of errors that could be made, thereby ultimately leading to speedier payment" the Minister explained. "In keeping with the practise of constantly improving the service and options provided by iNet, I am very pleased to see that it has been technically possible to introduce an on-line mapping element into the 2012 release" he said, adding "this new facility which will be available from early March will allow farmers, or their agents, who need to submit maps to my Department to do so through iNet, thereby dispensing with the need to submit paper maps. But the benefits go beyond this, because, by virtue of the maps coming in online, immediate effect can be given to the changes required, resulting in greater efficiencies for all concerned".

The Minister urged anyone considering availing of the on-line facility to make enquiries via the website, www.agfood.ie or, alternatively, the dedicated Helpdesk at Lo-call 1890 252 118.

Concluding, the Minister addressed the issue of newly created habitats created under the REPS 3 or 4 programmes, explaining "I have decided that, where farmers wish to retain such a habitat after they exit the Scheme, they can apply to have it designated as a landscape feature under the Single Payment Scheme, thereby ensuring that the area concerned retains its eligibility under the Scheme. This is a practical decision, allowing farmers to retain land eligibility, while maintaining worthwhile habitats, with their attendant environmental benefits".

Date Released: 15 February 2012