Under EU regulations, the maximum amount of suckler cow quota available to Ireland is 1,102,620 premium rights. This is comprised of the sum of the individual quotas held by farmers, i.e, 1,099,572 plus quota held in the national reserve, i.e, 3,048.
I accepted the proposals of the quota review group in July, which set out the priority categories of farmers to whom the reserve quota for 2002 should be allocated.
Firstly, 10% of the available quota was reserved for farmers in the Cooley peninsula who had to de-stock as a result of the foot and mouth crisis in that area.
The remaining quota would be allocated to eligible applicants in the following categories in order of priority – farmers under 35 years of age who will apply for the suckler cow premium scheme for the first time in 2002; farmers with holdings on off shore islands (5% of the available quota was reserved for this category); organic farmers who are registered with the Department (10% of the available quota was reserved for this category) and farmers who have applied regularly for the suckler cow premium scheme and who require additional quota to ensure the future viability of their holdings.
All the available quota was distributed to eligible farmers in the Cooley peninsula and to eligible farmers in categories A, B and C. There was no quota available to allow any allocations to be made to any applicants under category D.