The Sheep Welfare Scheme (SWS) will continue in 2022, with a new budget of €19.5m, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has confirmed.

The allocation for the SWS has increased from €17m in 2021 to cover the continuation of the scheme in 2022 and the change of reference year.

The Minister has said that the sixth year of the scheme will commence on 1 February 2022.

As in previous years, all existing farmers in the scheme will be automatically enrolled in year six and do not need to take any action should they wish to remain in the scheme.

'Commitment to sector'

The Minister said: “I was very pleased to be able to secure additional funding for the scheme in Budget 2022 and it underlines my commitment to the sheep sector.

"The Sheep Welfare Scheme provides a valuable support to sheep farmers for undertaking actions which make a positive contribution to flock welfare.”

The Minister has urged all eligible new entrants to the sheep sector who wish to apply to participate in the scheme to return their forms by 1 February 2022.

For the purposes of the scheme, a new entrant to sheep farming is defined as an applicant who has applied for a new herd number in the period 1 January to the 31 December in the year preceding the scheme year, or an applicant with an existing herd number who has not held or traded in sheep for a two-year period up to 31 October preceding the scheme year.

Application forms are available by contacting the SWS section of the Department by email at or by phone on 057-867 4422.