Flexibility needed on GLAS hill plans

Padraic Gibbons: CIC Chairman.
Padraic Gibbons: CIC Chairman.

‘MAXIMUM flexibility’ must be shown by the Dept. of Agriculture as regards the implementation of Commonage Framework Plans, details of which had to be submitted by October 31 last.

Around 9,000 farmers on 3,500 commonages around the country – many of them in the Connemara area – should have their plans submitted by Monday last as part of the GLAS environmental scheme.

This week, the IFA has urged the Department to accept plans that may have missed out on the October 31 deadline to ensure that any payments to hill farmers are not held up.

IFA National Hill Committee Chairman Pat Dunne also urged planners to submit any plans as quickly as possible and for the Department to show the necessary flexibility in accepting them.

He also said that the appeals mechanism through the Department of Agriculture and the Commonage Implementation Committee (CIC) must be used to review the minimum and the maximum ewe equivalent figures.

Mr. Dunne said that in many instances the proposed stocking figures bore no relationship to the actual situation on the ground. “In a number of cases the figures are obsolete as they refer to the situation in 2012 when commonage stocking levels were last reviewed,” he said.

He added that if the stocking figures had not changed it would lead to a situation where commonage plans would be very difficult to implement. “It is critical that commonage plans are workable, practical and flexible for farmers,” he said.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.