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Sheep Production.

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 11 March 2010

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Questions (73)

Bobby Aylward


69 Deputy Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he will confirm details of the grassland sheep scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11846/10]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food)

Mindful of the particular difficulties being experienced by the Irish sheep sector, late last year I decided on a two-fold approach to address the situation. In the first instance, I decided to allocate approximately €7 million from the Single Payment National Reserve to 14,000 sheep farmers, the only funds to which I had access in 2009. Subject to a maximum payable area of 15 hectares, this Aid was payable to farmers who declared their sheep under the 2007 and 2008 Sheep Census, declared Mountain Type Grazing under the 2009 Disadvantaged Areas Scheme and who were eligible for, and were in receipt of payment under, the 2009 Disadvantaged Areas Scheme. Payments began in December 2009 and, to date, payments worth almost €4.8 million have issued to 13,500 farmers.

Secondly, I decided to use €18 million of the €25 million in additional unused SPS funding, for each of the years 2010, 2011 and 2012, to which Ireland gained access following the agreement reached under the CAP Health Check, on a Grassland Scheme to support incomes in the sheep sector. The finer details of this €54 million scheme are currently being finalised and I expect shortly to be in a position to make an announcement in this regard.