PAYMENTS under REPS 4 have commenced, Agriculture Minister Brendan Smith has announced, with over €33 million being issued to farmers in the last week.
He said these represent the first of the two phasing arrangements under which REPS 4 payments are made under European Union regulations. The regulations allow 75% of payments to be released once all detailed administrative checks on all applications, including plan checks, are completed.
Mr Smith said the processing of REPS 4 claims is an enormous and complex task. All applications received this year, as well as those received in 2007 and 2008, have to be subjected to detailed administrative checks before any payments could issue.
“This involved checks on some 28,800 files and I am glad that we have managed to reach the stage where payments are now being made in such large numbers. Payments will continue so that as many farmers as possible will receive their entitlements before year-end or early in the new year,” he said.
Mr Smith also announced that the second phase of the REPS 4 payments for 2009, the 25%, has also commenced. This phase was triggered by the completion of the programme of on-farm inspections for the year.
He said there were also some 34,000 farmers still in REPS 3 who had been paid or would receive payments this year. These payments have been going out continuously since January with €220 million having been paid to date. These payments, too, will continue to issue right up to the last day of the year.
The Dáil recently approved a supplementary estimate for the allocation of an additional €39m to REPS for 2009, bringing the allocation for this year to €369m.
In the case of the Farm Waste Management Scheme, Mr Smith said expenditure by the department this year will reach €293m which will bring total expenditure under the scheme since its introduction in 2001 to over €900m.
However, IFA Rural Development Committee chairman Tom Turley said the payout of REPS 4 is proving far too slow. Up to 30,000 farmers are due a payment. They must all be paid their first 75% of payment without delay.
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