ICMSA President John Comer, has confirmed that his organisation has sought clarification from the Department of Agriculture, Food & Marine, on a very sizable discrepancy between the figures given for ‘on-farm investment’ in the Rural Development Plan 2014-2020 and the figure given a day later by the Taoiseach in the Construction 2020 announcement.
Mr Comer noted that the figure given in Minister Coveney’s announcement is €395m, while the figure given in the Construction 2020 report launched by An Taoiseach is ‘over €290m’ (page 37), a difference, observed the ICMSA President of approximately 25%.
“We’re urging the Minister and the Department to have these on-farm schemes up and running by the end of this coming autumn against a background where dairy farmers are making the financial decisions relevant to April 2015 and the post quota- era. The farmers are making decisions that will have massive financial implications for their families and operations and there’s a need for absolute categorical certainty about the overall funding available and the procedure and roll-out of the schemes themselves. That’s why we were struck immediately by the discrepancy in these figures announced – just hours apart –and that, in turn, is why we immediately contacted the Department and sought a definitive comment on which figure we can proceed to plan on. That figure, I’m happy to confirm, is the higher one of €395m and we will proceed on that basis”, said Mr Comer.