A number of commonage GLAS advisors are set to be appointed by the Department of Agriculture next week, according to the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney.

The Minister was responding this week to a parliamentary question from Sinn Fein TD Martin Ferris on the issue.

Ferris questioned the Minister as to the steps he is taking to facilitate all commonage farmers who wish to submit an application under the green low-carbon agri-environmental scheme, Tier 1, by the deadline of July 3, 2015, considering no planners have yet been approved by his Department to complete the commonage management plans, as is mandatory under the scheme.

Minister Coveney said all farmers with commonage land must submit their individual application, which includes a declaration to sign up to a Commonage Management Plan, to join the GLAS scheme on or before May 22, 2015.

“My Department has taken account of the concerns of Advisors regarding the time-frame for the completion of Commonage Management Plans and has therefore allowed an extension to July 3, 2015 for submission of plans,” he said.

According to the Minister, an information note on the procedure and the time-lines for appointment of Commonage

Advisors and the completion of Commonage Management Plans was issued to all GLAS advisors on April 13, 2015.

He said the process of assessing and appointing commonage advisors is well underway and officials in the Department expect to appoint a number of them next week.