12 May 2017
By Bryan Smyth
Changes in criteria severely limiting applications
Cork North West TD, Michael Moynihan (Fianna Fail) has severely criticised Agriculture Minister Creed’s office for changing the criteria needed to access direct payments under CAP this year. The Minister’s office are now insisting that young farmers must have completed a recognised FETAC Level 6 course in agriculture before they can apply for funding. Whereas, previously farmers were eligible to apply once they had taken up a place on a relevant agricultural course.
Michael Moynihan TDDeputy Moynihan explained, “I have been contacted by young farmers, from across the county, who are extremely worried about the impact of this change. This new rigid criteria means that many of them will now not be eligible for essential payments under the 2017 National Reserve and Young Farmers’ Scheme.”
Deputy Moynihan said “This move is inherently unfair and the fact that the Minister is attempting to hide behind EU eligibility criteria…”
Under, CAP Regulation 1307/2013 Member States have flexibility in defining the eligibility criteria for young farmers.
Deputy Moynihan said “Minister Creed must reconsider the changes he has implemented. I am calling on him to ensure that those who are currently enrolled in agriculture courses are included and to extend the upcoming deadline for those in this situation to facilitate them in making applications.”
Deputy Moynihan concluded “Farming faces a serious demographic challenge as the bulk of the agricultural workforce grows older and retires and it is essential that young men and women are encouraged to continue working on the land”