Addressing the Council of Agriculture and Fisheries Ministers meeting in Luxembourg yesterday (Monday 18 June), the minister said: “Ireland expects to fully spend its 2014-2020 allocation and we foresee increasing investment opportunities and demands for the 2021-2027 period.
“I would like to highlight one particular area of initial concern that we have identified, namely the apparent proposal to restrict EMFF aid for capital investment in aquaculture and seafood processing to financial instruments only. Currently such a restriction applies to large scale operators only.
“The majority of our operators are small or medium enterprises. Depriving them of grant aid would have a very negative impact on our policy objectives to grow scale and add value in our processing and aquaculture sectors.
Minister Creed added: “While we are in favour of continued and increased use of financial instruments, we must continue to have recourse to grant aid where these are most appropriate.”