Figures from various sources in recent weeks show that around 200 commonage management plans (CMPs) are submitted every week. The INHFA reported that 2,680 plans were outstanding on 20 June. Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed reported that 2,470 remained to be submitted on 28 June. Now the IFA is quoting an even figure of around 2,000 completed, and as many outstanding.
At the current rate, it would be the end of September before all CMPs are submitted – a condition for commonage farmers in the GLAS scheme to receive their 15% balance payment for 2017.
The IFA estimates that 4,000 commonage farmers have not yet received that payment, worth a total of €2.5m.
Department figures for the end of June showed that Co Donegal had the largest proportion of outstanding CMPs, with only 265 submitted and 579 yet to be completed. Counties Mayo, Galway and Kerry also had a significant majority of CMPs outstanding. Co Cork was the only major commonage county where most CMPs had been submitted.
IFA hill farming chair Flor McCarthy has said that the Minister should instruct his Department to make contact with planners to determine whether they will complete plans or not. He referred specifically to the recent scaling down of collaboration between Teagasc and FRS on CMPs. "If they are unable to complete CMPs, the Department should appoint planners to finalise plans," he added.
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