IFRG builds momentum with calls for new REPS scheme

The Irish Family-Farm Rights Group (IFRG) has welcomed support from other organisations to two key proposals for farm sustainability.

Speaking earlier this week, Donie Shine, national chairman of the IFRG, said: “I welcome recent reports that under its new presidency the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) has decided to get behind the Irish Family-Farm Rights Group’s long standing call for a new REPS (Rural Environment Protection Scheme) scheme.

“I am now calling on the leaders of all the other establishment farmers’ associations to declare their positions on same and to state whether or not they support the idea of a new REPS scheme.”

Continuing, Shine said that the new REPS should be fully co-funded by the national exchequer, in the same manner that the old REPS was.

“The IFRG already made a submission to the Department of Agriculture in 2019 broadly outlining the group’s vision for how the new environmental scheme could work.

“Our submission was favourably received by the department which has invited the IFRG to submit further details,” the chairman said.

Turning to the second proposal, Shine claimed:

I welcome the change in attitude of the IFA under its new presidency towards the suckler cow and I welcome the association’s abandonment of its calls for a €200 payment per cow in favour now of support for the IFRG’s longstanding call for a €300 payment.

“I am disappointed however that the IFA describes this as a ceiling payment,” the chairman said.

“Under a properly funded new REPS scheme a €300 payment per cow would be a floor payment, not a ceiling payment, and additional payments should be available on top of that depending on the number of environmental measures undertaken by the farmer.”

Shine added: “If a new REPS scheme is to happen then farmers will have to demonstrate their support for same.

The IFRG will soon be holding a series of countrywide meetings so that farmers can sign a petition calling for the new scheme.

“If you wish to have a meeting organised in your area please contact me on: 086-8149970 or watch this space on your local press for details regarding meeting venues and dates,” Shine concluded.