Local Sinn Féin TD Pa Daly, has expressed disappointment that the Results Based Environment-Agri Pilot Project (REAP) approval rate in Kerry of 33.8% stands well below the national average of nearly 46%.
The figures released in response to parliamentary question indicate that farmers in many counties to the south and east saw applications for the new agri-environmental pilot scheme declined at a rate of up to half of the national average.
Lauded as REPS 2
Teachta Daly said that while the scheme was initially lauded by the Minister for Agriculture, Charlie McConalogue as REPS 2, disappointment with the REAP pilot scheme was one of the few things to unite all farmers and farming organisations in the past year.
“While it was originally announced that the new agri-environmental scheme would be backed by €1.5 billion in funding from the Carbon Tax, the €20 million eventually allocated to the scheme simply did not live up to farmers hopes.
Accessible to all Farmers
“It is welcome that the department were able to secure additional places in the scheme, but as the figures released today indicate, our county in particular seems to have had a significantly lower rate of success than others.
“Sinn Féin has long called for a model of there being an agri-environmental scheme accessible to all farmers. These figures indicate there are likely many farmers in our county in particular who will remain locked out of this scheme for quite some more time.
Doing More For Less
“The current EU Budget agreed by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael will see the proportion of the EU Budget allocated to CAP decreased from 37 to 30% and, in truth, this is the core of the reason for dispute amongst farmers regarding the recent agreement – on the whole, they are once more being asked to do more for less.
Renewed Environmental Focus
“The next CAP has a renewed focus on the environment. That only 219 out of 648 applicants in Kerry were accepted into the REAP scheme sends out the wrong signal entirely to our farmers. “There should not be any conflict between environmental schemes and farmers who have a vested interest in maintaining and preserving their lands as well as the local environment if the proper supports are put in place for the years to come.
“However, this scheme is clearly a bad start,” said Teachta Daly.
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