Funding moved to RePower EU initiative must be ring-fenced for agriculture – Claire Kerrane TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture, Claire Kerrane TD, has called for funding due to be transferred from the Brexit Adjustment Reserve (BAR) to the RePower Eu initiative to be ring-fenced for agricultural supports.
The Government has submitted a request to the European Commission that €210m of remaining BAR funding will be transferred over to the RePower EU initiative.
According to the European Commission, the RePower EU initiative aims to "end reliance on Russian fossil fuels by 2030" and focuses on diversifying energy supplies, such as investing in renewable sources of energy.
Teachta Kerrane queried through a Parliamentary Question how the transferred BAR funding will be spent under RePower EU, and if those funds will be ring-fenced to support the agricultural sector.
Speaking today, Teachta Kerrane said:
“I submitted a query to both the Minister for Agriculture and the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, to ask if the remaining BAR funding will be ring-fenced for agricultural supports.
“I have now received a reply from Minister Donoghue, which states that the funding transfer request is being considered by the Commission. I understand that it was initially requested that €150m be transferred and another €60m was requested in June, potentially bringing the total transfer amount to €210m.
“His reply does not give guarantees that any of the funding will be secured for agriculture. The Minister does confirm that his Department is engaging with other Departments on potential proposals, including from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, amongst others.
“He goes on to note that a key consideration for proposals is timely deliverability on agreed milestones and targets.
“I understand that any proposed projects must be in line with RePower EU objectives and timelines, and believe that further underlines the argument to ensure that former BAR funding is secured for agricultural purposes.
“We are aware of the significant targets set out regarding agriculture, climate action and sustainability, as well as the potential for renewable energy generation through agricultural activities.
“Considering what is being asked of the farming community regarding moves towards sustainability, it makes perfect sense to ensure that funding is ring-fenced to support our family farms in harnessing potential sources of renewable energy, such as solar panels and Anaerobic Digestion, amongst others.
“Minister McConalogue must now advise what his Department are proposing with regard to the RePower EU fund. It is crucial that this much-needed funding is secured, to support the agricultural sector and our family farms in meeting renewable energy targets.”