Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has written to the Agriculture Minister calling on him to withdraw the proposed 50% Collective Agreement from the Fast track entry criteria to the GLAS scheme set out in the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020.
In his letter Mr Carthy has reiterated concerns from hill farmers across Ireland and has urged Minister Coveney to use the time before the RDP is implemented to remove the Collective Agreement requirement and allow active hill farmers to access GLAS in their own right.
Carthy, who addressed a meeting in Westport last week attended by over 1,700 Hill farmers said;
“Hill Farmers have correctly stated that the collective agreement proposals within the GLAS criteria are unworkable, unfair and discriminatory. I intend to support them in every way possible in their battle against this provision”.
Following discussions with Hill farmers from across the region MEP Carthy has also called for an increase to Natura Land payments to €150 per hectare from the proposed €79 per hectare for both privately owned and commonage Natura.
Last Wednesday’s Westport meeting was attended by 1,700 incensed Hill farmers from across the West as well as farmers from Tipperary and Cork, confirming that this is a widespread national issue.
As a follow on from the Westport meeting Donegal Hill farmers will be meeting on Friday 5th September in the Mount Errigal Hotel, Letterkenny at 8pm to once again express their concern and call on the Minister to address their apprehension.
MEP Carthy stated;
“This proposal is another attack on rural Ireland by discriminatory government policies. These conditions are out of touch with the needs of Hill farmers. Sinn Féin stands with Irish Hill farmers on these issues and look forward to seeing progress made on them from the Department. I am calling on Minister Simon Coveney to respond positively to my representations”.