A recent Department of Agriculture circular which denies access to GLAS 3 for commonage farmers that have rented or bought a commonage share since June 2015 has being described as discriminatory by the Irish Natura & Hill Farmers Association. CAP Chair of the INHFA Colm O Donnell outlined how this circular which clarifies commonage eligibility requires farmers to have any commonage share included in their 2015 BPS application in order to now qualify for payment in GLAS 3.
“For any other land parcel applied for in GLAS 3 the reference application is the 2016 BPS, then this clearly discriminates against these commonage farmers” said O Donnell. While allowances has being made for new entrants to farming in 2016 the INHFA have taken great exception to the principle that commonage land has clearly being targeted.
He added how “we are presently awaiting a meeting with the Minister and his officials who need to explain, why the Terms & Conditions of the scheme has being manipulated to keep out farmers, who are trying to manage these environmentally sensitive lands”
O Donnell concluded by pointing out how this action by the Department could undermine management plans on these commonages. “Farmers not in GLAS may not feel compelled to stay within any stocking regime which could result in overgrazing. This would not be in anyone’s interests which is why we need as many commonage farmers as possible in GLAS” he added