Dáil Éireann - Volume 476 - 11 March, 1997
Written Answers. - Disadvantaged Areas Classification.
Mrs. T. Ahearn Mrs. T. Ahearn
252. Mrs. T. Ahearn asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry the reason the Slievenamon area of County Tipperary is not classified as severely disadvantaged; if a review is planned; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6833/97]
Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry (Mr. Yates) Ivan Yates
Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry (Mr. Yates): A number of conditions had to apply when the Appeals Panel were considering areas for reclassification as more severely handicapped. One of these was that if an area did not join onto an existing or proposed more severely handicapped area, then it must form part of a block of at least 15,000 hectares in extent, all of which must satisfy the basic conditions relating to income and land quality, before the panel could consider it for reclassification. The EU Commission require non-contiguous areas to be a  reasonably large size before they can be considered for inclusion.
An appeal was received from a Slievenamon group, in respect of seven townlands covering three district electoral divisions in this area. The total area appealed amounted to some 2,500 hectares. As this area is not adjacent to an existing more severely handicapped area, and since the total area appealed was well below the minimum area of 15,000 hectares required for such island areas, the Appeals Panel had no option but to omit this area from their considerations.
The disadvantaged areas now extend over some 75 per cent of the land area of the State, and more severely handicapped areas account for almost 79 per cent of all disadvantaged areas. Given these figures, I believe that the EU Commission would not be receptive to any further demands for changes to Ireland's less favoured areas, apart from some small amendments resulting from genuine omissions from the areas approved in 1995 and 1996.
Dáil Éireann 476 Written Answers. Disadvantaged Areas Classification.