Northern Ireland’s farmers to receive £4.6m in weather aid

NORTHERN IRELAND’S farmers are to receive aid worth £4.6m from the Department for Agriculture & Rural Development, agriculture minister Jeff Rooker has announced.

The aid, which will provide partial compensation for the losses incurred during the bad weather in 2002, will be paid to farmers by the end of the year.

Lord Rooker said DARD had worked very hard in securing approval from the European Union to pay the aid.

“To satisfy demanding State Aids Rules, we have had to demonstrate and quantify to the European Commission in great detail the extent to which losses actually occurred,” said the minister.

“This required strong supporting statistical evidence and it was only where this was available that a convincing case could be made.”

DARD aims to make the majority of payments by November 2005, but details of the payment rates are to be announced closer to the time.

“I am keen that administration for this scheme be kept as simple as possible.  For the most part, payments will be linked to 2002 CAP support schemes and milk quota records,” added the minister.