Written Answers. - Grant Payments.

Brendan Smith

Question:

249 Mr. B. Smith asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry when the final instalment of the 1995 ewe premium will be paid; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1983/96]

Payment of the final instalment under the 1995 ewe premium which was established at the sheepmeat management committee on 19 January may commence after three working days have elapsed following publication of the EU Regulation. Publication of this regulation is expected shortly, after which payments will commence.

Brendan Smith

Question:

250 Mr. B. Smith asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry when the additional sheep headage payments will be made; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1984/96]

The additional aid package secured at the December Council of Agriculture Ministers for Irish sheep farmers will be paid when the necessary EU budgetary and legislative procedures have been finalised. I am endeavouring to have this process finalised as soon as possible so that payments to sheep producers can be made at the earliest date.