Wednesday, 9th November 2011

Fine Gael Kildare North TD, Anthony Lawlor today [Wednesday] said the level of farm payments paid out by the Minister for Agriculture to Kildare farmers so far this year highlights his awareness of the needs of the farming community and the importance of ensuring that prompt payments are being made.

“So far payments worth €191.7 million have issued to date under the Disadvantaged Areas Scheme, representing over 85% of applicants. Where the Single Farm Payment is concerned, efforts made by the Minister on behalf of Kildare and all Irish farmers, resulted in payments being made months earlier than scheduled under EU rules.

“More than 463 Kildare farmers have received payment under the Disadvantaged Area Scheme payment, which commenced just six weeks ago on 22 September. This represents 88% of applicants who applied for the scheme in the Kildare area. This scheme will see payments being made to approximately 100,000 farmers nationwide and with 85% of payments having already been made, the Department is working with the remaining applicants to ensure that the appropriate documentation is submitted and that outstanding payments are made.

“Where the Single Farm Payment is concerned, information revealed to me shows that 1,706 out of 2,141 applicants to the scheme in the Kildare area have already received payment. These payments are issuing six weeks ahead of the scheduled payment date laid down in EU regulations due to the case Minister Coveney made to the EU Commissioner earlier this year. By year end, the vast bulk of the SFP will have been paid, the total value of which will be in excess of €1.2bn.

“Payments such as these are an essential part of many farmers’ budgets. The Minister’s willingness to progress these schemes and ensure prompt, and even advance, payment shows that he is in touch with the needs of the farming community.

“Farm family have experienced much hardship in recent years, with many struggling to keep their heads above water. I appreciate Minister Coveney’s haste in dealing with farm payment schemes to date and look forward to the remaining payments being made in a timely manner so that farmers’ money worries can be alleviated and they can get on with doing what they do best.”