‘first come, first served’

How is the Department of Agriculture planning to distribute a reported £6million in grants available under the EU rural development programme? From the BBC report

It’s understood the Department of Agriculture will allow a number of postal applications to be picked at random from the many thousands which are expected to flood in, but the bulk of the grants will go to people who make it to the department’s regional offices on Tuesday.

[Has that been equality-proofed? – Ed] Adds In the comments zone jone points to this Irish Farmers Journal article. Update Additional BBC report.

“If we had done assessment panels it would have been a lot more bureaucratic and a lot more unwieldy,” said [NI Agriculture Minister, Sinn Féin’s Michelle Gildernew]

  • The Raven

    And yet the same Department is putting Local Action Groups (who deliver Axis 3 of the Rural Development Programme) through the mill in terms of selection and assessment.

    The same Department has included questions in its assessment papers asking applicants how they have equality proofed their businesses. Incerdible, given that that particular funding is aimed at businesses which in the main will employ 1 or 2 people. These same small businesses – mostly non-farming – will also be asked to undertake environmental impact assessments as part of the assessment process.

    I can’t wait to see how someone doing a bit of light engineering answers that one.

    Every time Michelle takes a step forward, there’s always two back from the boys behind her. A sham of a department.

  • dunreavynomore

    and some people still believe in intelligent design.

  • Rapunsel

    having managed a number of large grants programmes in the past I watched this on the news tonight and thought it was a joke. Very inequitable process. If they anticipated this many applicants and a limited fund the sensible solution is to have enhanced the application criteria but still ensure applications are judged on merit not on whether or not someone was willing to sit outside the DARD office all night.

    I suppose its too late to expect someone to step in and call a halt?

  • jone


    I believe the grants are being distributed under the Farm Modernisation element of the Rural Development programme


    *kills self due to being more pedantic than Pete Baker*

    More info here


  • The first tranche of support will open for applications this Tuesday, 17 February 2009 at 9.00am. .. The UFU is urging farmers to be patient and bear in mind that there is also a second tranche planned at a later date and the list of eligible items may well be amended for the second tranche. .. UFU website

  • niall


    looks like these ‘grants’ require a 60% match from the farmers, therefore it would appear the farmers still have a few quid!

    Honestly I like this as it brings things out in the public arena doesn’t it?

    I pay taxes to the farmers who hold onto land despite telling us they make no money only to cause overinflated land values and the property panic which is ultimately destroying rural economies.

    Most sickening thing? In some parts there are rumours of foreign farm employees being paid to sit in the q overnight?

    Farmers are an important part of the local community alright but any chance of them ever paying their own way?

  • “I pay taxes to the farmers who hold onto land despite telling us they make no money only to cause overinflated land values and the property panic which is ultimately destroying rural economies.”

    So you’ve not read the Ballyallaght yarn, Niall 🙂

    Irish milk prices drop, hope follows suit

    A few months later:

    Milk price collapse is farming ‘disaster’

    Aug 2007 – 34.66 p/l; Aug 2008 – 25.53 p/l; Oct 2008 – 18 p/l.

    Net producer prices (p/l)from 1995 to 2008: Year 25.40 24.03 20.63 19.32 18.54 17.96 18.40 15.85 18.00 18.26 17.89 16.75 21.78 22.92

    Asda slashes price of milk as supermarket price war escalates

  • niall


    So the dairy farmers are having hard times but at this stage i think of the boy who cried wolf!

    Let’s face it they have had the bowl out so long that they are always going to play the norn iron game of “we need special support because of x, y and z. It’s not our responsibility it is the fault of a, b and c”. and we should therefore be subsidised.

    Credit crunch or no the queues outside public offices sho they have money to onvest and that’s a good thing. It also suggests they anticipate a return on their investment, otherwise why spend the money? That’s also a good thing and fair play to them.

    I say they deserve respect but being a country lad I am cautious round the farming lobby. They’ll never say “we’re doing grand thanks for asking” will they?

    Reminds me of our local would be socialist politician having a local meeting for the construction industry – not a car worth less than 30k in the car park…….. He was looking for government subsidies too.

    Maybe the farmers can get compensation for the indignant way in which they have to stay out all night?

    As for the guy concerned that he looks like a begger why not sell his business and go into something that will leave him free of govt subsidy?

    Beggers can be whingers. NI tag line.

  • jone

    Hmmm the European Commission spokesman Michael Mann has just told Radio 4 that the ‘first come first served’ distribution of this money is against EC rules, that DARD have been warned of this and that in extremis DARD could be told to re run the process again.

  • Niall, I think we need to be more cautious about supermarket monopolies …