Almost 35,000 farm families would be severely impacted, if €200 million is cut from agri-environmental scheme payments, said IFA vice-president Jer Bergin.
Mr Bergin outlined his concerns in a meeting with the Taoiseach Enda Kenny last week. He repeated those views at last night’s IFA rally in Mullingar.
The IFA presidential candidate said the decisions the Government makes between now and Christmas will determine the level of funding for the 2014-2020 Rural Development Programme, and consequently the livelihoods of farmers and the viability of many rural areas.
“Under the CAP deal agreed in Brussels in June, an annual allocation of €313m was agreed under rural development, or CAP Pillar 2, measures for EU funding of schemes such as REPS, AEOS, Disadvantaged Areas as well as suckler cow and sheep support payments and farm development schemes,” he said.
Mr Bergin said 13,000 farmers will leave REPS this year and a further 3,500 farmers who applied for AEOS earlier this year were locked out. Another 17,000 farmers will leave REPS in 2014. The loss in payments to these farm families will exceed €200m per annum.
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