Carlow/Kilkenny TD Kathleen Funchion
Local Sinn Féin TD Kathleen Funchion has expressed disappointment that the REAP approval rate in Carlow and Kilkenny stands well below the national average.
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.
Teachta Funchion said: “Initially lauded by the Minister for Agriculture 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.
“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 have 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.
“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.
“The next CAP has a renewed focus on the environment. That only 48 out of 130 applicants in Carlow and 57 out of 221 in Kilkenny were accepted into the REAP scheme sends out the wrong signal entirely to our farmers as to the level of supports they should expect to meet those rising environmental standards.
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