Irish farmers will be able to avoid paying tariffs on some agricultural products by using a loophole in their tariffs laws, the Department of Agriculture has announced.
It has confirmed the deal will see Irish farmers pay a total of €1 million, with the first payment to farmers due to be made by the end of the year.
It will mean that farmers can receive more money than if they had paid tariffs directly to the Department for Agriculture, which will also be refunded.
The Department of Communications, Innovation and Employment (Decemv, DCEI) said it had agreed to the deal to avoid a tariff bill being passed on to farmers.
The deal was negotiated in consultation with Irish farmers and a number of other parties, including Irish Water, the Irish Farmers Union, the National Farmers Union and the Rural and Environmental Alliance.
It said it was a major milestone for farmers in the agricultural sector in Ireland and Ireland as a whole.
“The deal will make it easier for Irish farmers to sell their produce in Europe and across the world, whilst protecting Irish consumers,” said a spokesman for the Department.
Irish Water chief executive Peter O’Mahony said the new deal had “the potential to create a significant number of jobs and to support the economic recovery”.
He added: “It’s a major breakthrough and will allow us to continue to deliver high quality and affordable water in the future.”
There’s no doubt that it’s going to be a significant boost to the Irish economy and it will be the first of its kind in Ireland.
“Mr O’ Mahony said farmers would also be able, if they wanted, to opt out of any payments that would be passed on, but he did not specify what those payments would be.
Farmers and consumers in Ireland will also see a slight increase in the amount of time they can receive their payment.
In addition, the payment to Irish Water will now be calculated on a rolling basis, rather than a fixed number of days.
Mr O,Mahony added that the deal was “a win-win for Irish taxpayers”.”
The government has ensured that farmers will not be penalised by a reduction in payments, and will be given the flexibility to make their own decisions on how to spend their money.
“It’s also the first time that a significant portion of Irish farmers have been able to benefit from a reduction to the tariffs that are currently in place.”
The Department said that it was pleased to have achieved this important breakthrough, but added that it would continue to work with Irish Water to secure a long-term agreement for farmers.
It also confirmed that the Department would not be seeking any further legislation to ensure that farmers receive the same level of protection from tariffs as other Irish consumers.