A mass walk-out by farmers took place at last nights information meeting for commonage farmers hosted by the Department of Agriculture in Maam Cross, Co. Galway

A Hill Farmers for Action group spokesman told Agriland information outlined by officials at the meeting suggested that Department of Agriculture has gone back on what they agreed with the group in recent weeks particularly in relation to collective agreements and in protest farmers left the meeting.

The Spokesman added that it appears that the Department has also completely ignored its own implementation committee in this regard and the group is adamant they will not accept what they describe as ‘unworkable proposals’.

The group says it is likely to reinstate its campaign against the proposals in the coming days and it is currently considering its options.

The Hill Farmer for Action Group had hoped Collective agreements, as a requirement for entry into the new GLAS scheme, had been scrapped.

Following intense negotiations in recent weeks between hill farmers and the commonage implementation body set up by the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney commonage farmers were allowed to apply for the scheme as individuals and would have to agree to a management plan for the commonage as a whole.

The Hill Farmers for Action Group had understood that the 50% requirement was no longer a concern for farmers and will be an internal measure used by the Department of Agriculture. The group also had previously understood that where the Department finds a situational arises that less than 50% of active farmers on commonage apply for the GLAS scheme. It will refer the issue to the Commonage Implementation Committee. But it believed no farmers will be refused entry to the scheme.

According to the group following information outlined at the recent Department hosted regional meetings collective agreements are again a key element for entry to the scheme.