The Irish Natura & Hill Farmers Association has expressed concern that the proposed pay-out of GLAS monies this autumn may exclude commonage farmers. INHFA CAP Chair Colm O Donnell outlined how problems with the Department of Agriculture’s IT System have left Planners unable to log-in or complete any Commonage Management Plans (CMP’s).
O’Donnell stated how “it would be totally unacceptable if commonage farmers are left without payment because of factors outside their control” He also added “that in previous meetings with Department Staff, we were informed that Brussels would not allow payment to any farmer where a CMP was not completed” Unfortunately continued O Donnell “while time-frames and procedures are important the most important thing is the drafting of sustainable CMP’s which is very difficult to do until we know all of the farmers who want to join GLAS”.
O’Donnell then outlined how the last opportunity for farmers to join GLAS will be this autumn with an expected closing date for GLAS 3 being early December. Taking into account the need to ensure these plans are sustainable and workable O’Donnell stated “the obvious solution is to seek an extension with Brussels for the completion of these plans in order to facilitate GLAS 3 applicants” If this were to be done concluded O’Donnell “the Department of Agriculture could then proceed to pay all GLAS 1 & 2 commonage applicants with all other GLAS applicants”