New REPS scheme a ‘complete sham’, says IFA leader

IFA President Tim Cullinan says the Department is now drip-feeding out details of the ‘REPS-2’ Scheme.

However, he described it as a ‘complete sham’ compared to the original Rural Environmental Protection Scheme (REPS).

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

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

Mr Cullinan says what is emerging is a fundamentally different scheme to the original one.

IFA Rural Development Chairman Michael Biggins pointed out that the scheme has now been quietly renamed the pilot results-based scheme (REAP) and is nowhere near delivering on the promises made in the Programme for Government.

He said what farmers need is a meaningful scheme, with a base payment of €10,000.

He added that the scheme must be open to all farmers not currently in GLAS .Measures must be sensible, practical and not add unnecessary costs to farmers, he added.