Local Fine Gael politicians have hit out at the new environmental scheme replacing REPS 4. Deputy Denis Naughten, right, called it a “half baked disaster”, which he said will cost many farmers as much, if not more, than they will gain from it.
Following a meeting with the IFA in Dublin this week, Denis Naughten has called on the Minister for Agriculture to implement the Fine Gael plan to reintroduce REPS 4 for existing REPS2 and 3 farmers and to allow them the chance to transfer into this important scheme.
“Fine Gael believes that the Government must commit itself to ensuring that all existing REPS participants will remain in the scheme for a full five years after their REPS 2 and 3 contracts expire, thereby ensuring that the number of participants remains at the current level,” stated Denis Naughten.
“As a result of the closure of the REPS 4 scheme to existing REPS 3 participants from County Roscommon and County Leitrim, 2,752 local farmers are being forced out of the scheme at an average loss to the local economy of €18m/year.”
Cllr. Laurence Fallon has called for the withdrawal of the new agri-environmental scheme announced by the Minister for Agriculture as a replacement for REPS4.
“This new scheme is unworkable and will cost farmers more than it is actually worth to them without reaching the objective of enhancing the environment,” stated Cllr. Fallon.
“The vast majority of farmers feel that this scheme will not suit them and as a result it is likely that the uptake will be extremely low. This will result in a significant proportion of European funding being lost. While this may be described as an agri-scheme, the reality is that it is just a collection of simple measures such as installing water troughs, planting a few trees and maybe including clover on your farm.
“It is impossible to view this scheme as an overall environmental plan for a farm and as a result the objective of protecting the environment will be lost.”