Thursday, 21 June 1990
Dáil Éireann Debate
17. Mrs. T. Ahearn asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food if he intends to extend headage payments to outside disadvantaged areas in order to improve low farm incomes in the beef and sheep sectors; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mr. O'Kennedy): The EC suckler cow premium, special beef premium and ewe premium schemes operate both inside and outside the disadvantaged areas and to that extent headage payments are already being made outside the disadvantaged areas. It is my intention to ensure as far possible that these schemes will continue to operate and that their value to Ireland is maintained or increased in the future.
As regards the specific disadvantaged areas cattle/sheep schemes the EC rules governing these schemes preclude their operation outside the disadvantaged areas. However, as Deputies are aware, I have put proposals to the EC for an  extension of about two million acres to Ireland's disadvantaged areas, for a reclassification of some 1.6 million acres to a more favourable status and for an improvement in headage payment rates.
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