Written Answers - Grant Payments.

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 679 No. 1

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  410.  Deputy Michael Ring  Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring   asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food  Information on Brendan Smith  Zoom on Brendan Smith   when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will be approved and awarded REPS 4. [12973/09]

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Deputy Brendan Smith): Information on Brendan Smith  Zoom on Brendan Smith  If the application and the plan submitted by the person named pass the administrative checks, the first phase of his payment will be due when all the administrative checks for all Reps 4 and Single Payment Scheme applications submitted by 15 May 2009 are completed.

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  411.  Deputy Jimmy Deenihan  Information on Jimmy Deenihan  Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan   asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food  Information on Brendan Smith  Zoom on Brendan Smith   the changes in his Department’s procedures necessary to comply with EU regulations that have delayed the processing of REPS 4 plans; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12986/09]

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Deputy Brendan Smith): Information on Brendan Smith  Zoom on Brendan Smith  REPS 4 is a measure under the current Rural Development Programme 2007–13 and is subject to different EU Regulations from the preceding versions of REPS. Under REPS 4, the closing date for applications is 15 May each year. All payments are to be made in just two instalments each year. The first payment, of 75%, can be made only when all administrative checks on all applications for REPS 4 and the Single Payment Scheme for that year are completed. These include checks on areas and on the plan details. My Department’s controls have to satisfy stringent EU regulatory and audit requirements, bearing in mind substantial criticisms of existing procedures which arose in the course of audits by the European Commission and the European Court of Auditors in early 2008.

Many REPS 4 plans received up to 31 December 2008 were prepared using eREPS, the electronic planning system approved and funded by my Department. The information on these plans is in computerised format and it was necessary to develop an appropriate computer based control system for checking these plans. This was a lengthy process and the system was not available until late autumn. However a substantial minority of plans submitted were not prepared using eREPS. Administrative checks on these have to be done manually and are extremely time-consuming. An effect of industrial action in my Department’s local offices last year was that this process was delayed.

The first payments for 2008 REPS 4 applications issued in the last week of January 2009 to those whose applications required no correction following the administrative checks. Further payments continue to be made as applications are cleared.

  412.  Deputy Jimmy Deenihan  Information on Jimmy Deenihan  Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan   asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food  Information on Brendan Smith  Zoom on Brendan Smith   when payment will be made available in respect of a person (details suppled) in County Kerry, following their farm waste management application; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12987/09]

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Deputy Brendan Smith): Information on Brendan Smith  Zoom on Brendan Smith  The arrangements for payment of grants under the Farm Waste Management Scheme on a phased basis have been confirmed with 40 per cent being paid this year as claims are approved. A further 40 per cent will be paid in early January 2010 and the remaining 20 per cent in January 2011. I have also announced that a special ex gratia payment not exceeding 3.5 per cent of the value of the deferred amount will be made to farmers whose Farm Waste Management grants have been partially deferred. This payment will be made in January 2011 along with the final instalment. Payment of the first instalment of 40 per cent was made to the person concerned on 24 March 2009.

  413.  Deputy Jimmy Deenihan  Information on Jimmy Deenihan  Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan   asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food  Information on Brendan Smith  Zoom on Brendan Smith   when payment will be made available to a person (details supplied) in County Limerick for REPS 4; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12996/09]

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Deputy Brendan Smith): Information on Brendan Smith  Zoom on Brendan Smith  REPS 4 is a measure under the current Rural Development Programme 2007-13 and is subject to EU Regulations which require detailed administrative checks on all applications to be completed before the first payments issue. The first payments for 2008 REPS 4 applications issued in the last week [240]of January to those whose applications required no correction following the administrative checks. Further payments continue to be made as applications are cleared. Queries have arisen during the administrative checks on the plan of the person named and it is currently under further examination.


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