Pushing back the deadlines for key schemes such as the Basic Payment Scheme and GLAS any further will impact on the Department of Agriculture’s ability to make payments early next autumn, according to the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney.

Speaking in the Dail the Minister said the negotiations with the Commission on the GLAS scheme in particular was long and protracted which was why the earliest he could open the scheme was the February 23.

“The original deadline for submission of GLAS applications was the April 30, which, admittedly, was tight but there was no real opportunity to extend this without impacting on the deadline for direct payments applications.

However the Minister said that following discussions with the Commission increased flexibility around the deadline for key CAP deadlines has been granted.

“While we do not yet have the Commission’s proposal, it is my intention to extend the GLAS deadline to the May 22 if possible.

“This will provide significantly ore time to submit applications for this first tranche of GLAS,” he said.

The Minister said that it is possible to push both the basic payment and GLAS deadline back to the middle of June. But warned that there would be consequences to such a move.

“I am determined to get our Basic Payments out to farmers at the earliest possible date in mid-October and if we push application dates back then the processing becomes much more difficult in terms of the time that is available.”

The Minister also said that he is also anxious that there will be at least a week separation between the Basic Payment and GLAS application deadlines.

According to the Minister this was to prevent a huge influx of applications on the same day.

“We don’t want our backs up against a wall here.”

The Minister has also said that to date a total of 9,119 applications have been created on the GLAS online application system.

He said this meant that in the region of 700 applications a day are coming in to the system.

The Minister remains confident that the planned 30,000 applications will be submitted in time for the May 22 deadline.

“We are up near the 10,000 mark now and there is still quite some time to go,” he said.