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March 27, 2008

Change in EU Rules to Benefit REPS Farmers

Kildare South Fianna Fail T.D., Seán Ó Feargháil has commended the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Mary Coughlan TD, on securing a change in European Commission rules to allow more than 3,000 REPS farmers to join REPS 4 when their contracts come to an end this year.

Minister Coughlan secured the concession following intensive discussions on the interpretation of the Regulation between officials from her Department and their counterparts in the European Commission.

Welcoming the news, Deputy Ó Feargháil said:

"This is a significant concession secured by Minister Coughlan and I would like to commend her efforts."

"Some farmers were concerned that they would have to wait until 2009 to join REPS 4. Those who had REPS contracts ending in 2008, as things stood, would have had to wait until autumn of 2009 before they got any payments."

"However, Minister Coughlan has now agreed a special transitional arrangement for 2008 so that these farmers will be in a position to start their REPS 4 contracts and get payments later this year."

"There are a number of rules relating to the arrangement and meetings will be held shortly to brief farming organisations and REPS planners fully. Advertisements explaining the rules will also be placed in farming newspapers and all farmers with REPS contracts ending during 2008 will also be directly written to."

"I would advise all farmers affected to contact their REPS agent as soon as possible to ascertain their position following this development," concluded Deputy Ó Feargháil.