A major rally is to take place in the Bush Hotel, Carrick-on-Shannon, this Friday December 2 at 8pm to highlight the importance of Areas of Natural Constraint (ANCs) payments.

It has been organised by the IFA ahead of the upcoming 2017 Review of ANCs.

IFA Connacht Regional Chairman Padraic Joyce, said that it is vitally important that farmers attend this meeting as the scheme is up for review as part of an EU-wide plan to designate areas based on physical handicaps.

Farmers are being invited from all the Connacht counties and the north-west and border areas. All MEPs for the region have been invited.

The ANC payment is of vital importance to thousands of farmers in the west of Ireland and contributes significantly to farm income, IFA has said.

The IFA campaign will be to protect the existing areas, restore payment levels to pre-2008 Budget cuts and to ensure the long-term financing of this important scheme.

“This is the first major review of ANCs in over 40 years and it is important that farmers highlight the significance of the payment in supporting farm incomes.

“Currently the ANC scheme is worth €205m to around 95,000 farmers throughout the country.

“In the marginal areas of the west of Ireland, farmers need to see their payments increase as farm incomes are under severe threat,” he said.

Attending the meeting will be the President Joe Healy, Rural Development Chairman Joe Brady, Hill Committee Chairman Pat Dunne and County Officers from throughout the region.