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.