17th October 2014
ICSA rural development chairman Billy Gray has called on Minister Coveney to clarify that no farmer on a commonage will be excluded from the new GLAS scheme as a result of the failure of other shareholders on the commonage to sign up to the commonage plan.
“The Department seems to have led people to understand that any farmer who wanted to be in GLAS, but where there wasn’t 50% sign up to the commonage plan, would have recourse to the Commonage Implementation Committee and that a solution would be found at that level to ensure his/her entry into GLAS. However, it now appears that there is a rowing back from that position which is leading to immense frustration among commonage farmers.”
“The Minister really needs to take steps to clear up the confusion and ensure that farmers who want to enter GLAS in good faith and who are prepared to do what is required of them as individuals are facilitated.”
“There is also huge concern among planners who are dubious about how they will be paid for doing work on commonages. The question is who will pay for the plan? In theory, farmers entering GLAS can pay for it but if there is a fundamental doubt about whether commonage farmers will be allowed enter GLAS – dependent on the decisions of other shareholders – then it is clear that planners have grounds to be worried.”
“It is high time that the Minister intervened to clear up the uncertainty. ICSA believes that he needs to attend a meeting involving farm representatives, planners and the Implementation Committee as soon as possible with a view to solving the outstanding issues. The whole success of GLAS is dependent on this,” concluded Mr Gray.