Tuesday, 10 February 2004

Ceisteanna (128)

Michael Ring

Ceist:

204 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food if there is compensation available to a person (details supplied) in County Mayo for the premium on 60 sheep considering that their quota was restored to them under the commonage framework plan for 2003 as notified to them in July 2003, yet the closing date for ewe premium applications for 2003 was in January. [3852/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Agriculture and Food)

Following an agreement with the EU in 1998 regarding the implementation of measures to rejuvenate commonage land, the ewe quota of the person named was reduced from 397 in 1998 to 278 in 1999, and to 294 for the years 2000 to 2002 inclusive. He was compensated in each of those years for the loss of income resulting from those reductions by Dúchas.

Following the publication of the commonage framework plans in 2002, a preliminary calculation issued to the person named indicating that his ewe premium quota was reduced from 294, the quota available to him in 2002, to 257 premium rights from 2003 onwards. He contacted my Department in November 2002 about the reduction and was advised, if he was not satisfied with the figures set out in the preliminary calculation, to consult a planner to have his calculation reviewed. He was also advised, pending the outcome of any revision by a planner, to apply on the number of animals he had in his ownership and possession and which he intended to keep for the 100 day retention period under the 2003 ewe premium scheme. This advice was given to ensure the farmer received payment on a higher number of animals in the event that the planner's recalculation resulted in a higher stocking level than that set out in the preliminary calculation. He was advised that under EU rules governing all premium schemes, a farmer cannot be paid on animals on which he does not apply. He applied for the 2003 ewe premium scheme on 294 ewes.

Following a revision of his calculation in May 2003 his maximum quota was revised upwards to 354 for 2004. This resulted in a net loss of 43 ewes over his 1998 numbers and I understand that he has recently been compensated by the national parks and wildlife service of the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government for that loss. In the circumstances, there is no other compensation available to him.