Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Agriculture in the Seanad Brian Ó Domhnaill has condemned the decision by the Minister for Agriculture to close the Dairy Equipment Sheep Handling Equipment, Water Harvesting and other Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Schemes (TAMS) to new applications.
Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill said: “I cannot understand why the Minister has closed these schemes for new applications given that all three schemes have only been up and running for a short period of time together with the fact that no one farmer has yet been approved or received payment under the scheme.”
“The shock suspension of these schemes follows on from major cuts by the New Government to the Agri-Environment Options Scheme (AEOS) which is clearly an attack on Agriculture and Rural Ireland by this Government.”
“I find it quite unacceptable that schemes which are 50/50 funded by the EU and which would therefore attract EU funding of €45 into the Country would be suspended by this Government. In essence the Governments decision would mean that Irish Farmers are losing out on EU Funding available under the TAMS scheme. In addition to this hundreds of farmers, many of whom were waiting for planning permission to meet scheme conditions, were caught unawares of the shock suspension.”
The three schemes include; The €45 Dairy Equipment Scheme – Opened on 1st March and was due to remain open until December 2013. The €8m Sheep Equipment Scheme – Opened last November. Some 810 farmers applied in the first application window. The third application window was mid-way through when the Minister closed the scheme. The €8m Rainwater Harvesting Scheme – Low uptake with less than a dozen applications to date. The €13m pigs and €16m Poultry schemes were the first to open. “The suspension of the schemes now means that for the first time in a generation there is no grant aided farm modernisation scheme available. The decision by the Government flies in the face of the Food Harvest 2020 Report target. ”