Fine Gael Kildare North TD Anthony Lawlor has backed Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney in his attempt to bring forward the awarding of the Single Farm Payment (SFP) by the EU Commission.
Minister Coveney announced his intention to have the payments worth €600 million brought forward from December to October at yesterday’s meeting of the Council of Agriculture Ministers in Luxembourg.
“Cash-flow has become a critical issue for farmers, particularly those on low incomes, and the timing of these payments is extremely important.” said Deputy Lawlor. “In trying to have the payments brought forward from December to October, the Minister has shown that he is in tune with the challenges that farmers are facing. Farmers in Kildare North will no doubt support any moves to bring forward these vital payments, upon which their livelihoods depend.
“The Single Farm Payment forms a considerable part of the annual income of farmers. It has taken on increased significance in the current economic climate, especially bearing in mind the problems people are having accessing credit. Huge numbers of farmers rely on the SFP to subsidise the running costs of the farm. Very often the payment constitutes an amount greater than the net farm income.”
EU Member States seeking an advance SFP payment must make an application to the Commission containing evidence of exceptional circumstances. The Commission will consider the matter in July.
“I endorse Minister Coveney’s assertion that there is a strong case for an advance payment for Ireland and am hoping for a positive response from the Commission.”