A ‘bureaucratic nightmare’? Ireland unveils €1.5bn agri-environment scheme

The Irish government has shared more details of what Taoiseach, Michael Martin TD, called the ‘biggest single investment ever’ by the Irish government when it presented an update of the Agricultural Climate Rural Environment Plan (‘ACRES’) this morning.

ACRES, which is part of a draft Northern Ireland strategic plan, will see €1.5 billion directed into the country’s agri-food sector. It is hoped that the initiative will enter into force at the beginning of next year, although the draft proposal still requires approval from the European Commission.

“This €1.5 billion scheme is the largest single investment ever made by an Irish government, and fulfills a key commitment to design a pioneering environmental scheme under the new Common Agricultural Policy that is user-friendly for farmers, and will provide environmental benefits and broader ecological diversity,”Martin said. “Climate change is a threat to all of us and our way of life; the agriculture sector has a critical role to play in meeting the challenge, while creating resilient farms for future generations.”

Under the proposal, Martin revealed that about 50,000 farmers would be “supported evidence” of providing “measurable” gains for climate, biodiversity and water quality.

“This is the largest amount of money that has ever been allocated by a government to a single agro-environmental scheme, so it’s good to see ACRES come this far,”Ireland’s Agriculture, Food and Marine Minister Charlie McConnalog TD added.

“Farmers have an important role to play”

Irish lawmakers hope the initiative will provide income support to farmers while tackling issues such as biodiversity degradation and environmental protection.

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