Brendan Smith welcomes Sheep Welfare Scheme advance payments of €256,770 for Cavan and €145,663 for Monaghan

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan and Monaghan, Brendan Smith has welcomed advance payments of €256,770 to 353 sheep farmers in Cavan and €145,663 to 190 in Monaghan as part of the Sheep Welfare Scheme announced today.

Deputy Brendan Smith commented, “This funding is very important to the 543 sheep farmers across Cavan and Monaghan, providing a welcome financial boost for individual farmers and for the wider rural economy of both counties.” 

Announcing the advance payments today, Deputy Brendan Smith’s party colleague, Minister for Agriculture, Charlie McConalogue stated, “These payments reflect the change to the reference year, bringing the reference year to the higher of either the farmers’ existing reference number or their 2017 sheep census return. For those who joined as new entrants the reference year is being updated to 2019.

 “The change to the reference year better reflects the level of activity on participants’ farms given the passage of time since the introduction of the scheme in 2016. It will mean an increased payment for 11,500 farmers under the scheme and no-one will see their payment being reduced because of this change. The extension of the scheme into 2022 and the change to the reference year reflects both my and this Government’s commitment to the long-term viability of our sheep sector”. 

The Minister further noted, “These advance payments at a rate of 85% of the full annual payment are an important support to sheep farmers in the delivery of key welfare actions and provides a financial boost to the individual farmers and the wider rural economy. The balancing payments for the scheme will issue in the second quarter of 2022.”

The Minister added: “I am also happy to confirm that in the recent budgetary process, I secured funding for an additional year of the Sheep Welfare Scheme, which will open in February 2022.  As in previous years, there will be an opportunity for new entrants to sheep farming to join the scheme.”

In concluding, the Minister urged any farmers with outstanding queries to respond to the Department immediately in order to facilitate payment.