Concerned Hill Farmers Action Group spokesman Brendan Joyce has confirmed to Agriland that a letter seeking the support of Enda Kenny to secure a better RDP (Rural Development Plan) for commonage farmers will be handed in to the Taoiseach’s Constituency Office in Castlebar tomorrow.

He added:

“We will also maintain a picket outside the office until we get a satisfactory resolution to this issue.  Our picketing presence will be maintained from Monday through to Saturday: 11.00am to 5.00pm. We have also called for a face-to-face meeting with the Taoiseach on this matter.

“Our fundamental objective is to secure an RDP deal which removes the need for a commonage agreement to be reached as a pre-condition of entry to the new GLAS scheme. We also want full clarification from the government that no similar pre-conditions will be required in terms of hill farmers receiving their Single Farm Payment under the new Pillar One arrangements.

“This is not about securing additional money for hill farmers: fundamentally we are seeking to have arrangements put in place which put hill farmers on the same footing as their other producer colleagues throughout Ireland.

“We are also more than happy to work with the Commonage Implementation Body, but only when the proper legislative framework is put in place. It makes no sense, whatsoever, for Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney to push for a Commonage Review until the proper RDP framework has been agreed.”

Brendan Joyce also confirmed that his group is to host an open meeting for farmers in Letterkenny on Friday evening of this week.

“We have invited the four relevant MEPs to the event: Mairead McGuinness, Marian Harkin, Luke Ming Flanagan and Matt Carthy ,” he commented.

“We have taken this step because our EU politicians must put pressure on Brussels in order to ensure that the needs of Irish hill farmers are fully recognised by the European Commission, the final arbiters of the new RDP.”

Brendan Joyce also confirmed that his organisation had nothing to do with the incident in Westport yesterday, which saw a group of farmers placing two rams into the Taoiseach’s Office as a protest against the current GLAS scheme.