GLAS scheme will re­main in place un­til new CAP – Varad­kar

Irish Independent - Farming - - NEWS - De­clan O’Brien

THE cur­rent GLAS scheme will con­tinue un­til the new CAP starts, or there is a tran­si­tion pe­riod, the Tá­naiste Leo Varad­kar has con­firmed.

He said it is en­vis­aged that GLAS will con­tinue un­til the new CAP starts or in the tran­si­tion pe­riod.

“In the next cou­ple of months, we will be work­ing on get­ting REPS plus or REPS 2 up and run­ning, which I know farm­ers will wel­come,” Varad­kar told the Dáil, in a heated ex­change with Michael Fitz­mau­rice last week.

Fitz­mau­rice had ac­cused Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil of reneg­ing on pre-elec­tion com­mit­ments to de­liver a €200/hd pay­ment on suck­ler cows.

He claimed Fine Gael has rowed back on as­sur­ances that dedicated suck­ler cow sup­ports would be de­liv­ered by the party in any new gov­ern­ment.

Deputy Fitz­mau­rice also claimed the Fine Gael leader was try­ing to “duck out” of com­mit­ments given by Fine Gael can­di­dates dur­ing the elec­tion to pro­vide tar­geted sup­ports for suck­ler farm­ers.

“Once the elec­tion was called ear­lier this year, Fine Gael can­di­dates on the ground gave a com­mit­ment to farm or­gan­i­sa­tions and oth­ers that their party would in­tro­duce a scheme dedicated to supporting suck­ler farm­ers,” Deputy Fitz­mau­rice said.

“How­ever, dur­ing Thurs­day’s sit­ting of the Dáil, the Tá­naiste Leo Varad­kar tried to duck out of the com­mit­ment.”

But the Tá­naiste dis­puted that such a spe­cific un­der­tak­ing re­gard­ing a suck­ler cow pay­ment was made by Fine Gael, although he con­ceded that it had been made by Fianna Fáil.

“On the Deputy’s [Fitz­mau­rice] point about suck­ler cows, I do not think that was a com­mit­ment in my party’s man­i­festo. It may have been in the Fianna Fáil man­i­festo. Our man­i­festo had some­thing about sheep but I do not think we had a spe­cific com­mit­ment on suck­lers,” Deputy Varad­kar

said.

The ICSA, IFA and INHFA have all called for a dedicated suck­ler cow pay­ment to secure the fu­ture of the sec­tor.

The INHFA claimed its pro­posal for a €200/hd pay­ment on the first 10 suck­ler cows in each herd, and a grad­u­ated pay­ment on the next 15 was sup­ported by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael elec­tion can­di­dates.

INHFA said it was “now vi­tal” that the Gov­ern­ment clar­i­fied ex­actly what sup­port and un­der what con­di­tions any suck­ler pay­ment will be made.

Car­bon tax

IFA has called for a €300/hd suck­ler cow pay­ment, while the ICSA said there was scope to use ad­di­tional funds from the car­bon tax to fi­nance an agri-en­vi­ron­ment scheme and suck­ler pack­age.

“We want to see a scheme that is more like the old REPS scheme in terms of scale and pay­ment,” said ICSA ru­ral de­vel­op­ment chair Tim Far­rell.

The Pro­gramme for Gov­ern­ment agreed be­tween the coali­tion par­ties ac­knowl­edges “the im­por­tant and unique role that the suck­ler sec­tor plays in the beef in­dus­try” and com­mits “to de­vel­op­ing sup­ports that recog­nise this crit­i­cal role”.

How­ever, no com­mit­ment is made on a spe­cific per head pay­ment on a pro­por­tion of the coun­try’s 950,000 suck­ler cows.

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