North/South Ministerial Council: Agriculture

Part of Ministerial Statements – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 12:30 pm on 22nd November 2016.

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Photo of Michelle McIlveen Michelle McIlveen DUP 12:30 pm, 22nd November 2016

I thank the Member for her question. The aid package translates to just over £4 million for Northern Ireland. It is very welcome, as we lobbied to get a greater proportion of the allocation of moneys from the package.

You will be aware from previous comments that I have made that I want to maximise the impact of the money. I want to get it out as quickly as possible to farmers and also get the best value from it, as I want it to make a meaningful difference to the industry. Within the next number of days, I plan to make available the information on the schemes that I am funding. I appreciate that there have been calls for match funding, although not all regions are match-funding it, as the Member will be aware. She will also know that I do not have a surplus in my budget at present to match-fund. It is something on which I will have to have further discussions with the Finance Minister, but, at this stage, I do not have the money. The Member will also know from discussions in farming circles that farmers have not quite been united on how the money should be disseminated. I plan to let the Member know in the next number of days how I plan to go forward with this.