‘BEAM underspend would be greatest embarrassment of all time’ – Hogan

At present, approximately €70 million has been applied for under the Beef Exceptional Aid Measure (BEAM) scheme.

This is according to Brendan Gleeson – secretary general of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. He was speaking at the Agricultural Science Association’s (ASA’s) conference in Kilkenny today, September 13.

He added that there is generally a flush of applications near the closing date for any scheme.

Gleeson’s comments on the number of applications came after the outgoing Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan, stated that it will be “the greatest embarrassment of all time” if the money allocated to the scheme isn’t spent.

Speaking on the on-going beef crisis, Gleeson stated: “We all need to get around the table and start talking about this.”

He added that the department continues to work under the radar to bring all parties together.

When we come to a solution, and we will, then we can go out and try and sell it.

Call for extension

Yesterday, September 12, the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) called for Minister Michael Creed to extend the application period for the Beef Exceptional Aid Measure (BEAM) scheme so farmers can apply in person at the 2019 National Ploughing Championships.

Joe Healy, the association’s president, said that farmers should be given the opportunity to call in to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine stand at the ‘Ploughing’ to submit an application.

“There has been a strong level of applications this week, which proves that extending the original closing date was the correct decision,” said Healy.

Earlier this week, Phil Hogan has warned that the low uptake “weakens the case for future financial support for future action in the beef sector from the EU in the context of a hard Brexit”.