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Health Check and the European Economic Recovery Package

Under the CAP Health Check Agreement (HC) an additional €120 million was made available under the RDP from 2010 to 2015. Furthermore an additional €26.8 million was allocated under the European Economic Recovery Plan (EERP). Following a consultative process it was decided that the total Health Check funds and half of the EERP fund should be allocated to an agri-environment measure, titled 'Agri-Environment Options Scheme' (AEOS). This investment amounts to €132.9 million made up of €119.5 million arising from the Health Check plus €13.4million from the  EERP. The balance of the EERP fund of €13.4m is allocated to a broadband measure which will be implemented by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources.

The EU funding under the HC and EERP has been allocated specifically to meet EU prescribed requirements including the new challenges of climate change adaptation and mitigation, renewable energies, water management, biodiversity, innovation, restructuring of the dairy sector and broadband internet infrastructure in rural areas. In addressing the new challenges Ireland opted to prioritise biodiversity, water management, climate change and broadband.

Further to the allocation of the HC and EERP funds, a new scheme titled Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme [TAMS] launched under the RDP will address other challenges relating to dairy restructuring, renewable energies and water management. The TAMS schemes are: - dairy equipment, sheep fencing/handling, sow welfare, poultry welfare, water conservation and bio-energy (miscanthus and willow production). The Miscanthus scheme was launched in February 2010 to encourage uptake of the scheme ahead of the planting season in 2010. The Sow Welfare and Poultry Welfare Schemes were introduced on 16 June 2010. The Sheep Fencing/Handling Scheme opened for applications on 1 November 2010 whilst the Dairy Equipment and Rainwater Harvesting Schemes were introduced on 4 and 8 March 2011 respectively.  

Over the period of the programme the revised RDP will now have a total funding commitment of €5.1Bn, including an amount of €448m for the wider rural economy which is implemented by the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.