Swann raises EU Exceptional Aid Scheme with Minister

Ulster Unionist MLA Robin Swann has warned that the DAERA must work tirelessly to ensure none of Northern Ireland’s share of the EU Exceptional Aid Scheme is lost.

The North Antrim MLA said:

“At this week’s meeting of the Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee the Minister informed me that Northern Ireland’s share of the UK’s EU Exceptional Aid Scheme would amount to 4.8million euros. However, she warned that the timeline is incredibly tight in regard to development of the detail of the applications.

“Her Department has only until the 30th of November to inform the European Commission on how it wants to spend this money and where it will be spent on, and once this is finalised the deadline for having the monies spent is 30th September 2017. 

“It is essential that not a penny of this money is lost as a result of these deadlines not being met. Whilst the fund has been known about for quite some time, unfortunately the Department does appear to still have a significant piece of work to do in regards to determining how the money will be spent. Indeed, during the Committee meeting, the Minister made it clear that her Department was still open to suggestions on how this money should be allocated.

“This money was secured after a period of unprecedented pressures facing the sector. It would be an absolute outrage if some of it was later to be lost just because the Department here had failed to put the proper mechanisms and preparations in place.”

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