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Coveney announces EU agreement for early payment to Irish farmers of over €600M

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, TD, today confirmed that agreement has been reached in Brussels today which provides for an advance payment under the 2012 Single Payment Scheme. "I am very pleased at the level of support evident at today's meeting, the Minister said, adding "This will now allow us to make advance payments, at a rate of 50%, to those applicants whose applications are confirmed fully clear, with effect from 16 October, with balancing payments being made with effect from 1 December".

The Minister explained that his approach to the Agriculture Commissioner had been prompted by the very wet weather experienced throughout June and July, which has led to severe difficulties for farmers, particularly in silage-making and which has also required the housing of animals, with the attendant additional costs of buying-in feed, together with the ongoing cash-flow difficulties affecting farming and the wider community. "Being acutely aware of the significance to farmers and the wider rural economy of the Single Payment, and mindful of the ongoing financial crisis, I have been particularly concerned at the difficulties caused for farmers by the adverse weather of the past seven weeks" the Minister said, noting that the total value of the advance payments which will begin issuing as and from 16 October, the first day of the new EU financial year, will release payments worth some €600 million. "The benefit in making these payments six weeks earlier than otherwise provided for under the existing rules of the scheme will be particularly beneficial at this time" the Minister said.

"At a bi-lateral meeting with the commissioner Ciolos recently, I argued Ireland's case for an advance payment of 70%. Application was made to the commission for a 70% advance payment, but the commission explained it was not possible to make that level of funding across the EU available. Despite not being able to get a 70% advance it is positive news that 50% will be granted. The Commissioner had committed to looking at a 70% advance but was unable to grant it due to budget constraints".

Concluding, the Minister noted that the proposal to opt for the advance payment, as proposed by the EU Commission at today's meeting in Brussels of the Direct Payments Management Committee, received unanimous support from all Member States. "I wish to record my thanks to the Commissioner for the immediate and positive response to the request of Ireland and other the Member States that provision be made for this advance payment. I can assure all concerned that my officials will do all that's needed to ensure the maximum number of applicants receive their advance payment at the earliest possible date", he said.

Date Released: 25 July 2012