Fianna Fáil TD for Donegal Charlie McConalogue says small farmers will suffer because of the Government’s failure to deliver a tangible GLAS scheme for farming families. Applications for the second tranche of the programme opened this month, but a number of changes mean that farmers will not be able to claim anywhere near the €5,000 maximum allowable under the scheme.
Deputy McConalogue commented, “This GLAS programme is a bad deal for farmers in Donegal. Average payments under the second tranche are likely to be much lower than the first round, and are expected to be between €1,500 and €2,000, mainly down to the reduction in the maximum land eligible under Low Input Permanent Pasture (LIPP). In fact, many agricultural planners predict that farmers will only be able to reach around €3,000 under round 2 of the programme, compared to the €5,000 maximum payment under GLAS 1.
“This will have a particular impact on sheep and commonage farmers in Donegal, and the low take-up rate in the first tranche of the scheme is set to be repeated this time around. The change to LIPP will make it more problematic for low income cattle and sheep farmers to secure the maximum funding under the scheme.
“It’s clear that Minister Simon Coveney has tried to dilute this programme by putting in new restrictions which will limit the number of farmers that are eligible to apply as well as reducing the amount of funding available to them. Farmers have already experienced huge problems with the GLAS scheme, which is evident in the low take up numbers. The levels are particularly low among commonage farmers, with fewer than 20% of the country’s 15,000 commonage farmers having applied for the scheme.
“This Government has turned its back on rural Ireland and small farms in particular. The new restrictions set out in the second phase of the GLAS programme will continue to chip away at farm families endangering their livelihoods”.