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Creed Welcomes Commencement of 2018 Farmer Payments under the Hen Harrier Programme and the Burren Programme

20181125 Creed Hen Harrier

Agriculture Minister Micheal Creed with Dr Fergal Monaghaan, project manager Hen Harrier project; Dr Barry O'Donoghue, Department Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and Jack Lynch, Farm owner ,Cardowmey, Macroom.

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed TD, has welcomed the commencement of payments to farmers under the Hen Harrier Programme. These are the first payments under the €25m programme and are the first of several batches of payments that will be made before the end of 2018 to participating farmers. The Hen Harrier Programme is a scheme under the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine's Rural Development Programme and is one of the new types of locally-led schemes under the RDP.

Minister Creed commented “I am delighted to see the commencement of payments to farmers in this innovative Programme. The purpose of the programme is to pilot new approaches to farming for conservation. It rewards farmers for improving the natural habitat and for the delivery of defined environmental objectives. My Department has allocated €25 million to this Programme over the next five years, and already there are signs that the objectives of the Programme are being achieved while the team continue to come up with innovative solutions to challenges that they face”.

The Programme is a conservation measure for the Hen Harrier species and focuses on land in Special Areas of Conservation which contain the most important breeding areas for Hen Harriers in Ireland. The payments now being made are results-based payments for the habitat quality delivered by the farmers during the 2018 breeding season. The first payment run sees payments totalling just over €500,000 to the first 190 participants under the Hen Harrier Programme.

Fergal Monaghan, Project Manager for the Hen Harrier Programme commented “We are delighted that habitat payments to participants in the Hen Harrier Programme have begun. Payment to the first 190 farmers has been approved; the remainder will be paid in batches over the next 4 weeks. We expect that a total of 629 farmers will be paid in the coming weeks."

Payments are also being made for the 2018 scheme year for participants in the Burren Programme. It is expected that around €730,000, representing 85% of the total due, will be paid to participating farmers in the form of habitat- based payments before the end of the year. There are now 331 farmer participants in the Burren Programme.

Notes for Editor

Hen Harrier Programme
The Hen Harrier Programme is a scheme under the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine's Rural Development Programme. It is a locally-led, locally-designed and locally-administered scheme under a Project Management Team based in Co. Galway.
It is a 5 year programme and focuses specifically on farmers managing habitat in the six Hen Harrier SPAs with land in Slieve Beagh, Slieve Bloom Mountains, Slieve Felim to Silvermines Mountains, Slieve Aughty Mountains, Stacks to Mullaghereirk Mountains, West Limerick Hills & Mount Eagle and Mullaghanish to Musheramore Mountains Special Protection Areas (SPAs).
The Hen Harrier Programme commenced in April 2017 and has to date received over 1,600 valid applications.
The habitat payment is the first of three payments streams under which the participants can benefit. Contract offers will continue to be made to selected applicants until early 2019.

Burren Programme
The Burren Programme is a locally-led agri-environmental scheme, co-financed by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the EU, which works with farmers to help them to conserve the Burren’s environment whilst allowing them to continue producing quality livestock. It was developed in the Burren, for the Burren, by working with local farmers during BurrenLIFE and the Burren Farming for Conservation Programme.