The Hen Harrier Programme is operationally independent of my Department and is run by the Hen Harrier Project team.
As was announced earlier this month, the Hen Harrier project team can now offer a contract to every eligible farmer who has expressed an interest in joining the Hen Harrier Programme.
At present there are 628 participants under contract and a further 1,059 farmers will be sent a contract pack over the next month. The cost for 2019 is dependent on the habitat scores reported for these participants; this will not be known until the end of the habitat assessment season in September.
I have allocated €25 million to this project for the lifetime of the current RDP and this planned increase in participants will fully commit the funds available.