Fianna Fáil TD Dara Calleary says small farmers across Mayo could lose out on thousands of euros in payments as a result of changes to the new GLAS scheme.  The programme which is an agri-environmental scheme, aims at applying farming practices in unison with sustainable land use, sees significant cuts in the amount of funding available under the second tranche of payments.

Deputy Calleary commented, “The latest round of GLAS applications, which opens this month, will see farmers receiving payments which are much lower than those available under the first round.  In fact, some farmers could stand to lose up to €2,000 as a result of the cut in the Low-Input Permanent Pasture (LIPP).  Sheep and commonage farmers in Mayo will bear the brunt of these changes and many could struggle to make up the financial hole which will be left by the payment reductions.

“The first phase of this new GLAS scheme saw the Government fall short of its targets – with fewer than 20% of the country’s 15,000 commonage farmers signing up to the deal.  These new changes will do little to attract farmers to apply for the scheme – the high levels of red tape for a meagre return could see many farming families deciding that there are too many hoops to jump through for a very meagre return.

“Not only have the funds been seriously depleted, the addition of new restrictions on the scheme will limit the number of farmers eligible to apply for the programme and the low level of take-up looks set to be repeated.

“It’s time this Government woke up to the real situation on the ground in rural Ireland.  Minister Simon Coveney has consistently chipped away at farm supports and rural schemes – all to the detriment of farming families and people living outside of the main urban centres”.