Wednesday, 7 May 2003
Dáil Eireann Debate
190. Mr. J. Breen asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food if action will be taken to ensure headage, suckler, cow and sheep premiums are paid to farmers, some of whom are experiencing financial hardship at this point in time; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11642/03]
Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mr. Walsh): Some 97% of applicants under the 2002 area based compensatory allowance scheme and 98% of applicants under the 2002 ewe premium scheme have been paid. Advance payments of 80% have been made to 98% of 2002 suckler cow applicants. The issue of the 20% balancing payments under the 2002 suckler cow premium scheme commenced on 30 April 2003. To date over 55,000 farmers representing 88% of applicants have received over €37 million in balancing payments.
The delay in issuing the balancing payments arose due to the requirement to apply penalties across all bovine premium schemes with effect from the 2002 scheme year and also because of problems with the overshoot of the special beef premium national quota. While the requirement to apply penalties across all bovine premium schemes under amending Regulation 2419/2001 results in the later issue of balancing payments, the penalties that will be applied to the bovine schemes for irregularities and late lodgment of area aid applications will be much lighter than those that applied up to now.
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