Hopkins’ mixed views on Budget for farmers

Fine Gael councillor Maura Hopkins has welcomed the budget allocation of €203 million to support agricultural environmental schemes in 2016.

  She said: “The €142 million allocated to Glas has the potential to facilitate an additional 13,000 new participants with funding available for a total of approximately 40,000 GLAS participants in 2016.

  “Glas Tranche 2 has been announced and planners are actively gathering information to commence preparing plans.”

  Cllr. Hopkins said that she was “disappointed that changes were made to some of the more popular options, like a reduction in the maximum area allowed under Low Input Permanent Pasture (LIPP) to five hectares and removal of the option to select new hedgerow planting”.

  “I have communicated my disappointment to Minister Coveney, encouraging him to negotiate reinstatement of these popular options in tranche 3.”

  Agriculture Minister Simon Minister Coveney said: “On the basis of the 27,000 GLAS plans submitted to date, we have achieved or exceeded RDP targets in some areas such as Low Input Permanent Pasture (LIPP), new hedgerows and traditional orchards.”

  However, Cllr. Hopkins said that she would continue to encourage the Minister to implement maximum flexibility with regard to reinstatement of LIPP and new hedgerows in tranche 3 and also that the necessary funding was secured to ensure the overall target of 50,000 farmers participating in the scheme was achieved and exceeded.