Eamonn O Cuiv TD has asked the Minister for Agriculture in a parliamentary question when will the commonage reviews be completed. The Ministers response suggests that this is imminent and that commonage farmers will soon receive a letter from the Dept. of Agriculture showing the maximum and minimum figures for their commonage. The Minister has also pointed out that farmers will have the right to submit alternative figures based on an assessment by a professional planner. A transcript of this exchange is shown below.
Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine When the commonage reviews promised will be completed; the compensation that will be paid to farmers in the meantime for compulsory destocking of livestock from commonages; the reason that arbitrary destocking limits are being imposed on commonages without any up to date evidence of their need; the reason for the delay in publishing up to date commonage framework plans; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): With a view to having a system to meet the requirements of the Basic Payment Scheme, which will be implemented in 2015, my Department will be writing to all commonage claimants in the coming weeks setting out the minimum and maximum stocking density for the commonage as assessed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service in conjunction with my Department.
The claimants will have the right, if they consider that the figures provided would not meet the requirements of their commonage, to submit an assessment by a professional planner providing alternative figures.
The extent of this task should not be underestimated and my stated intention is that this will be only achieved by working with the farmers concerned and all other stakeholders. In order to assist this process, I established the Commonage Implementation Committee last week with Mr. Joe Healy appointed as Chairman. The Implementation Committee will have a role under Pillar 1 Schemes in examining cases where there may be disagreement over minimum-maximum figures for individual commonages and for individual claimants. It will also have a role under Pillar 2 measures where the requirement for priority entry into GLAS is for 50% of active participants or 50% of the area to be signed up to the GLAS Commonage Management Plan.