Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Agriculture Charlie McConalogue TD has said the Green, Low-Carbon, Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS) must be reopened for farmers who have their Agri-Environment Option Scheme (AEOS) contracts end in 2018.

Deputy McConalogue explained, “GLAS must be immediately reopened to farmers whose AEOS contracts finished in 2018.

“These farmers are being deprived of the opportunity to join the latest agri-environmental scheme GLAS. This is indefensible and denying them increased portability levels, while carrying out additional actions that are conducive with the protection of the environment and climate change mitigation.

“It must also be remembered that in 2015, Government said once the scheme was fully opened with 50,000 farmers it would require funding of €250 million per annum.

“The government have missed this financial commitment on the scheme in each year over the 2016-2018 period as evidenced in latest PQs, so the finances are there to reopen the scheme.

“Secondly, there actually has been a €62 million underspend in the scheme, as of December 2018, so further unused monies are available.

“The government must ensure the scheme is immediately opened for these farmers and reopen GLAS,” concluded Deputy McConalogue