Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has urged the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney to ensure that the government provides match funding for the CAP Pillar II programme.
Gerry Adams said: “Rural communities and families are under increasing economic pressures. This is reflected in the numbers of young people emigrating, families leaving the land and the rise in suicides among farmers.
“Rural development, farming and the rural economy are the bedrock of the county Louth economy. The agri-sector plays a huge role in the economy. It provides employment for farming families and in related services like local shops, machinery purchase and repairs.
It contributes significantly to the quality of life of tens of thousands of families and their communities.
“In a Parliamentary response to me the Minister for Agriculture confirmed that ‘while final decisions in relation to what measures are to be included in the new RDP have not yet been made, my Department is in ongoing contact with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in relation to the overall financing that will be required’.
“The Minister reveals that he expects to ‘make decisions in relation to the measures to be supported under the new RDP by the end of this year, and to submit a draft programme to the Commission in early 2014’.
“Sinn Féin supports the IFA campaign to ensure that the government provides matching funding and additional top-ups.
“The rural economy is vital for the future prosperity of county Louth and of the island of Ireland. It is a vital driver for economic growth and the government must give it the priority it deserves.”
Parliamentary Question No.423
To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will consider providing match funding and additional top ups for the Common Agriculture Policy Pillar II programme; if he has met the Irish Farmers Association on this issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
- Gerry Adams.
For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 10th December, 2013.
Ref No: 52771/13
The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine: (Simon Coveney)
The European Council agreement on the Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF) provides some €313m per year, or a total of €2.19bn, for Ireland under Pillar 2 of the CAP for the period 2014 – 2020.
A general EU co-financing rate of 53% is set out in the draft Rural Development Regulation but this rate may rise to a maximum of 80% for measures such as farm and business development, co-operation activities, and LEADER projects. Environmental type measures may be co-funded up to 75%. The total Exchequer funding that will be required to draw down the available European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) funding will depend on the types of measures included in the new Rural Development Programme and on the co-financing rates applied to these measures.
There are a number of conditions attached to Ireland’s allocation of €313 million per annum. The draft Regulation provides that at least 5% of EAFRD funding must be reserved for LEADER while the draft Common Provisions Regulation provides that 6% of EAFRD funding must be set aside to a national performance reserve. The funding set aside to the performance reserve will be allocated to each Member State following a performance review in 2019. Finally, the draft Rural Development Regulation sets out that 30% of the total EAFRD amount must be reserved for environmental operations and climate change mitigation and adaptation measures.
Work is currently ongoing in my Department to design the new Rural Development Programme (RDP) for the period from 2014 – 2020. In designing the new RDP, my Department must take account of the range of requirements set out in the draft Rural Development Regulation and the need to support key policy aims for the agri-food sector in the light of the Food Harvest 2020 strategy. In undertaking this work, a number of ex-ante analyses are being undertaken and a public consultation process has also taken place. As part of this process, I have met with a number of stakeholders, including the Irish Farmers Association.
While final decisions in relation to what measures are to be included in the new RDP have not yet been made, my Department is in ongoing contact with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in relation to the overall financing that will be required. I expect to make decisions in relation to the measures to be supported under the new RDP by the end of this year, and to submit a draft programme to the Commission in early 2014.