The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D., today announced the commencement of payments of over €13.35 million to approximately 100,000 farmers.
This money was deducted from their 2018 Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) payments under the Financial Discipline rule, and is now being reimbursed in line with the EU regulations.
Minister Creed said ‘‘I am pleased to confirm that these payments are now being reimbursed to eligible farmers.” The Minister added that “these payments will bring the total paid to Irish farmers under the 2019 Basic Payment Scheme to over €1.192 billion.”
In the context of the annual budgetary procedure of the European Union, the financial discipline mechanism which is implemented by the Member States involves a monetary deduction (1.4% for the 2018 reduction) from some direct payments thereby creating a financial Crisis Reserve for the European Union. The crisis reserve is intended to provide additional support for the agricultural sector in the case of major crises affecting agricultural production or distribution. In the event that the Crisis Reserve is not activated in the financial year, or it is not fully utilised, the unused balance is refunded to farmers in the subsequent financial year.
Joint Press Release on Farm Safety Ministers come together to call for increased awareness of farm safety on the island of Ireland.
With the ongoing high rate of fatal farm accidents in 2020, the Minster for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed T.D., Minister for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Edwin Poots, Minister for the Economy Diane Dodds and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys T.D., have come together to highlight the need for all farmers, and all of those involved in agriculture, to play their part and reduce the rate of farm incidents.
In a joint appeal, the Ministers said ‘‘We all have a long association with farming and have all seen first-hand the devastation that follows farm incidents and fatalities. It is very concerning to see a surge in the number of fatal farm incidents on our farms. This year, there have been 16 fatal incidents on farms on the island of Ireland, with 13 fatal incidents in Ireland and three fatal incidents in Northern Ireland’’. The Ministers added, ‘‘The majority of these accidents have occurred during the Covid-19 restrictions and in particular it is sad to see the number of children and older people that have died on our farms in recent weeks.’’
Three children and nine people over 65 have died this year. Fourteen have occurred during the Covid-19 restrictions.
There has been a remarkable level of public awareness across both jurisdictions of the need to flatten the Covid curve. Faced with an overwhelming public health imperative, practices such as physical distancing, coughing etiquette and hand sanitising have become a cultural norm.
We need a similar and immediate effort if we are to make a real impact on the prevalence of farm incidents. Farm safety has to be built into our DNA. We have demonstrated with our collective response to Covid that this can be done.