“I am particularly pleased to see that these payments, worth some €149m, are issuing on target, particularly given the significance of direct aid payments to individual farmers and the wider rural community.
“I expect in the region of 71,500 eligible farmers will receive their payments in the coming days, although it will in reality take at least one week to issue such a large volume of payments.
“However, there are a significant number who currently appear ineligible under the stocking provisions.
“These farmers can submit appropriate evidence to my department’s Portlaoise office, following which their payments will then be released,” he said.
Mr Coveney noted the value of payments issuing in the first tranche is significantly up on the equivalent 2013 figure, when €122m issued. The number of farmers being paid is up from 58,000 to 71,500.
“These figures underscore my determination to maximise payments to farmers at the earliest possible time.”
“I can also confirm that arrangements are well advanced and on target to allow payment of the 50% advance of the single payment, with effect from October 16, again mindful of the need to assist farmers’ cash flows.”
Mr Coveney said it would be a big mistake for farmers to heed the advice of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association and pull out of the Quality Assurance Scheme for beef producers. He said he understands the frustration of farmers but he said Ireland has worked hard to become a recognised producer of premium beef, which is sold for a higher price internationally, and that this would be jeopardised.