The much-hyped REPS II scheme is a complete sham compared with its predecessor, IFA president Tim Cullinan has said.

Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue told the Sligo IFA AGM on Monday night that the pilot scheme would be paid on a farmer’s first 10ha and would have an average payment of €4,700 under the scheme, with a potential maximum of just under €7,000.

At the Oireachtas Agriculture Committee, the Minister said there would also be some costs on farmers under the new scheme due to its results-based nature.

“Slowly but surely the mask is slipping on this scheme and what is emerging is a fundamentally different scheme to the original one. It’s a complete sham and a political con job,” Cullinan said.

Quiet renaming

IFA rural development chair Michael Biggins said the scheme has been quietly renamed the pilot results-based scheme (REAP) and is nowhere near delivering on the promises made in the programme for government.

“What farmers need is a meaningful scheme, with a base payment of €10,000. The scheme must be open to all farmers not currently in GLAS,” Biggins said.

“Measures must be sensible, practical and not add unnecessary costs to farmers. If the Government wants to live up to their promises, they must deliver this.”

The programme for government stated €1.5bn would be available over 10 years from carbon tax to fund a REPS II-type scheme and this money is to be in addition to CAP Pillar II.