Independent MEP Marian Harkin organised a series of meetings in Brussels for hill and commonage farmers with senior officials of the European Commission to discuss the need for flexibility in the interpretation of regulations relating to commonage usage.
The delegation will consisted of members from Galway, Mayo, Sligo and Donegal and will meet with senior members of the Commission dealing with the Rural Development Programme.
The delegation will brief the Commission on the problems faced by commonage farmers attempting to join the scheme and investigate what solutions could be implemented to the benefit of all.
Hill Farmers have voiced serious concerns over the new GLAS application system which it says will effectively restrict access to commonage farmers and allow large number of places to be filled by farmers without priority assets. The Hill Farmers for Action Group held a number of large meeting in recent months and staged a picket of Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s office.
Meanwhile, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney has said he has listened to the to the concerns of commonage farmers and has altered his proposals significantly to address them.
“I have listened very carefully to the concerns of commonage farmers and I recognise that these concerns are real,” he said responding to a parliamentary question on the issue.
The Minister stated that over the course of the consultation process on the Rural Development Programme the Department have adapted and rebalanced our proposals for commonages quite significantly in the light of those concerns.