Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Agriculture & Food Éamon Ó Cuív has accused Minister Simon Coveney of virtually locking farmers who have any commonage on their land out of the new GLAS scheme. To get priority access to the scheme 80% of farmers in a commonage will have to form an association as well as having to individually join the scheme at the same time.
Reacting to the new measure, which is contained in the Government’s Rural Development Plan, Deputy Ó Cuív commented, “Each of the applicants will have to be willing to put all of their land, both enclosed and commonage land, into the GLAS scheme. All other farmers in commonage will have to get agreement of at least 50% of the commonage shareholders to be even considered for GLAS. Taking into account that some commonages have many hundreds of shareholders, some of whom would be elderly, it will be virtually impossible for the pro-active farmers in these areas to get into the scheme.
“If the Minister had come down to Connemara, West Mayo, Donegal or Kerry and sat down with the farmers and discussed this issue, he would’ve realised the great injustice he is doing to them by depriving them of their biggest traditional source of farm grant.
Deputy Ó Cuív says he will be fighting this unworkable provision on behalf of all working commonage farmers across the State.
“I am calling on all farmers to make their dissatisfaction with this rule known to their public representatives”, he concluded.