The Agriculture Minister has caved to pressure to extend the deadline for application for the Disadvantaged Areas Scheme, according to Fianna Fáil Seanad Spokesperson on Agriculture Brian Ó Domhnaill.
The Donegal Senator wrote to the Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney requesting the extension earlier this month, after changes to the scheme were introduced.
“This extension buys farmers some time to consider the impact of cuts that the Minister has made to the scheme,” said Senator Ó Domhnaill. “While I am still encouraging farmers to get their applications in by next Friday 31st August, I want to repeat my outright opposition to Minister Coveney’s cuts, particularly in light of the terrible weather we have experienced this summer.
“I have pleaded with Minister Coveney to scrap the new DAS criteria, which will penalise so many small farmers across the North East. The new stocking requirements means that many small famers in Donegal will see their payments cut by €3,000 and their businesses will simply no longer be viable. I am fearful that this will drive people off the land.
“Farmers in Donegal are already suffering severely as a result of the unseasonably wet weather we have had over the past few months. Fianna Fáil already appealed to Minister Coveney to take this into account, and to scrap his planned changes to stocking requirements completely. Once again he refused to listen to the voices of smaller farmers in the North West.
“The extension of the application deadline, while welcome, is not enough for farmers on the poorest land in Donegal. What they need is for Minister Coveney to drop his discriminatory cuts altogether. It is these farmers who are most in need of support to keep them in business, and the Government simply cannot afford to continue to ignore them.”