Clare T.D. and Chairman of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade Pat Breen has welcomed the news that the €1.4bn GLAS scheme is now open to applicants saying it will play a significant role in the rural recovery. Deputy Breen was speaking at the Fine Gael National Conference in Castlebar, where the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, announced the new €1.4 billion agri-environment scheme.
“The new €1.4bn will no doubt be welcomed by farmers throughout County Clare. The GLAS scheme represents a very significant investment in rural Ireland, and will play a significant role in the rural recovery. The scheme is going to help support families that have not yet felt the benefits of a recovering economy.
“A total of €1.4 billion has been allocated to GLAS over the lifetime of the programme, allowing a standard ‘package’ of up to € 5,000 for eligible farmers per annum, with an additional package of €2,000 per annum for those in GLAS+, in return for exceptional environmental commitment.
“The formal approval process for the RDP as a whole has still to be completed, however Minister Coveney has confirmed that there is a very clear understanding with the European Commission as to the shape of the new scheme, its priorities, the actions that should be applied and the rates of payment that will be made. This has allowed him to launch GLAS from Monday morning when preparation of applications can commence.
“This means that the completed proposals can be formally submitted when the first tranche opens, following confirmation of the agreed content of the Rural Development Programme, which is expected shortly.
“The Minister also said he was simplifying the application process for commonage farmers. The requirement for 50% participation has been reconfigured as a target, rather than an eligibility criterion, and all shareholders can now submit individual applications to join GLAS in their own right. Commonage advisers will also be given more time to complete the necessary plans.
“The GLAS scheme is now open for applications on the Department of Agriculture website and I encourage all Clare farmers to start preparing the necessary materials as soon as possible.”