Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney has promised the Government will do everything it can to have as farmer-friendly a solution as possible to the €67.6m financial correction for Ireland, arising from EU audits of over €12bn of direct payments to farmers in Ireland, in the 2008-2014 period.
“We are negotiating with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform to look at how that is paid and whether farmers contribute or the State picks up some or all of that burden,” said the Minister last week in the Agriculture Committee discussion on his Department’s expenditure estimates for 2015.
“My intention where possible is to ensure that it does not impinge on any other spending programme that we have an estimate for, and that this would be treated separately.
"We will certainly have a decision on it before the end of the year,” said Minister Coveney, responding to Fianna Fáil agriculture spokesperson Éamon Ó Cuív.
The EU fine, related mainly to ineligible lands for EU-funded farmer payments, was negotiated down from an originally proposed €181.5m in talks between the European Commission and the Department of Agriculture.
The fine consists of a €64m exclusion for the 2008-2012 period, and €3.6m for the 2013-2014 period.
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