Phil Hogan, the European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, has said that he is “very anxious” that the beef aid package, announced last week, goes directly to farmers.

Speaking to AgriLand, Commissioner Hogan explained that the process for rolling out these funds would be finalised in the next two to three weeks, saying that he expected funds to reach farmers “in a couple of months’ time”.

“I’m very anxious that this money goes directly to the farmers, and Minister Michael Creed has made this perfectly clear to me as well, that this is his first priority and his focus,” said the commissioner.

Commissioner Hogan was speaking at the ‘Advancing Agri-Tech in Ireland’ event in Kilkenny, which was organised by the Telecommunications Software and Systems Group (TSSG) from Waterford Institute of Technology.

“This proposal, that I made last week in relation to the beef farmers of €50 million, has to go through the various internal procedures in the commission, and that will start this week, and will be completed in the next two to three weeks,” the commissioner outlined.

He went on to explain that, after that point, Michael Creed, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, and his department, will take on joint responsibility for the roll-out of funds.

Then it’s a matter for the engagement of the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed and his officials, with the commission, to decide how it’s going be tailored towards the particular farmers.

“So we will roll out this money with a view to having it paid in a couple of months’ time,” concluded Commissioner Hogan.

Meanwhile, the commissioner was in Kilkenny to launch the Precision Agriculture Centre of Excellence (PACE), being established in Kilkenny city through Waterford Institute of Technology and with assistance from Kilkenny County Council.

Speaking during the launch, Commissioner Hogan said that the new agri-technology hub “gives Ireland’s agri-tech companies, most of them SMEs and micro-enterprises, direct access to best-in-class technologies and research, as well as cascade funding”.