9th December, 2011
Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) national president Gabriel Gilmartin has expressed strong misgivings about one of the criteria that may be used to achieve the proposed €30 million reduction in Disadvantaged Area Scheme (DAS) payments, as announced in the budget. Mr Gilmartin said that the suggestion that farmers with land in both disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged areas should be cut needs to be carefully reviewed.
Mr Gilmartin pointed out that ICSA strongly opposed any cuts to the Disadvantaged Area Payment, especially as there has already been a €37 million cut to the scheme in a previous budget. “However, ICSA believes that if the cut is inevitable, then the objective should be to preserve the payment for active farmers as much as possible.”
For that reason, ICSA favours the principle that there should be a higher minimum stocking rate. However, the proposal to reduce the rate of payment for farmers with land in both disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged areas was very unfair to active and progressive farmers who have taken on extra land outside their own locality, through rent, lease or purchase.
“Many farmers, in the west of Ireland especially, who are farming on marginal land, and where there is very limited availability of good land, have tended to rent land further a-field and in some cases outside their own county. These progressive and hard-working individuals will be penalised by this proposal as the rented land is usually non-disadvantaged.”
“I am calling on the Minister to re-consider these cases and ICSA will be making a submission on this in the coming days.”