Dáil Éireann - Volume 539 - 26 June, 2001

Written Answers. - Rural Environment Protection Scheme.

146. Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development if he will confirm a definite date for the next REP scheme appreciation course to enable new REP planner agencies to be set up; and the progress which has been made in this regard. [18539/01]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (Mr. Walsh): My Department has arranged a training course for REPS planning agencies for the week beginning 2 July. Qualified applicants have been advised of the dates and asked to confirm their attendance. My Department had hoped to hold courses earlier this year for suitably qualified individuals who wished to establish themselves as REPS planning agencies under the new scheme. Provisional arrangements had been made, but my Department had to cancel them in line with precautions against the possible spread of foot and mouth disease. A visit to a suitable farm for demonstration purposes is a central part of the course for all participants, and obviously this could not have taken place during the emergency. I have previously given an undertaking that my Department would reschedule the courses as soon as it was practical and safe to do so, and I am glad that the successful containment of the disease has now made it possible.