Advanced payment of SPS confirmed

Agreement has been reached in Brussels today that provides for an advance payment under the 2013 Single Payment Scheme (SPS).

Announcing the development, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD said: “I am very pleased at the level of support evident at today’s meeting. This will now allow us to make advance payments, at a rate of 50 per cent, to those applicants whose applications are confirmed fully clear, with effect from 16 October, with balancing payments being made with effect from 1 December.”

The minister explained his approach to the Agriculture Commissioner had been prompted by the protracted unseasonable weather that prevailed throughout the country, which culminated in a serious national fodder shortage and led to severe difficulties for farmers.

“Being acutely aware of the significance to farmers and the wider rural economy of the Single Payment and mindful of the ongoing financial crisis, I have been particularly concerned at the difficulties caused for farmers by the adverse weather conditions during the first half of the year.”

The total value of the advance payments which will begin issuing as and from 16 October, the first day of the new EU financial year, will release payments worth some €600m.

“The benefit in making these payments six weeks earlier than otherwise provided for under the existing rules of the scheme will be particularly beneficial at this time.”

Concluding, the minister noted the proposal to opt for the advance payment, as proposed by the EU Commission at today’s meeting in Brussels of the Direct Payments Management Committee, received unanimous support from all member states.

“I wish to record my thanks to the commissioner for the immediate and positive response to the request of Ireland and other the Member States that provision be made for this advance payment. I can assure all concerned that my officials will do all that’s needed to ensure the maximum number of applicants receive their advance payment at the earliest possible date,” he said.