Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Tuesday, 19 May 1987

Vol. 372 No. 10

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Western Drainage Scheme.


asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food when he expects a response from the EC Commission to the request for an extension to the western drainage scheme to cover cases involving farmers with approved field drainage works not completed by 31 December 1986 due to unfavourable weather conditions; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

I am continuing to press the EC Commission for a response to our request for an extension of this measure so as to allow for the completion of drainage works started before the end of 1986 but which could not be finished due to last year's bad weather. I am hopeful that a proposal for the extension will be made by the Commission at an early date.

Is the Minister optimistic that the response which will eventually emerge from the Commission will be positive? Does he agree that there is a clear cut case for an urgent response in view of the fact that we have had two inclement summers which made it virtually impossible for farmers to carry out this work? The livelihood of many farmers is threatened by the danger of a negative response.

Weather conditions during the past two years obviously posed problems for those carrying out drainage works. The indications are that the Commission will look favourably on our request.

I am sure there is not a Deputy in the House who has not had representations from many farmers who are awaiting sanctions of grants ranging from £3,000 to £10,000. Borrowings have been undertaken on the strength of those grants and the lending institutions are beginning to get extremely worried because the promised extension is not forthcoming. As early as last January we were told there was no difficulty and that there was goodwill in Brussels for the extension. If that goodwill exists——

I do not like to interrupt a Deputy, but you must proceed by way of a question.

I appreciate that, but it is a matter of making the point very clear so that there may be some benefit to those people caught in this position.

The matter is being pursued vigorously.

Is the Minister aware that due to good weather during the past few months much of the backlog of applications has been completed? Perhaps the Department would deal immediately with issuing payments to those people rather than new applications.

I have taken note of the Deputy's sentiments.