Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Saturday 19 August 2017

Farm organisations call for more urgency on payments

Declan O'Brien

Declan O'Brien

Farmer leaders have called for greater urgency to deal with delays in the delivery of direct payments.

ICSA president Gabriel Gilmartin said the Department of Agriculture's admission that the redigitisation of maps will not be completed until next year would come as a shock to many farmers as it will result in further payment delays.

"We need the Minister for Agriculture, Brendan Smith, to personally examine whether a better strategy can be put in place to speed up processing the [maps] backlog," Mr Gilmartin said.

Referring to the outsourcing of the maps redigitisation, Mr Gilmartin said he could not understand why the contract was not based on a target of getting all the work done in good time to facilitate orderly payments to farmers.

"At least the Department is now being more upfront about the difficulties. However, it is still not clear if there is any great appreciation of the hardships caused by the reality of payments delayed into 2011," the ICSA leader said.

Mr Gilmartin accused EU bureaucrats of being "over pedantic" about minor differences in maps and eligible areas.

Analysis

"In the final analysis, it is dubious as to whether the whole debacle will amount to a hill of beans in terms of the national area of eligible farmland but it is incredible to think what a waste of energy and resources the whole process has been. The EU needs to reflect on what purpose, if any, has been served."


Meanwhile, IFA president John Bryan said the continuing delays in getting payments to farmers were unacceptable and had added to a continuing cashflow crisis in the sector.

He said the IFA has been in contact with all the major banks over the problems associated with the Department payment delays.

Mr Bryan said the banks had undertaken to support and accommodate individual farmers who had been affected by the payment delays.

He also called on Mr Smith to instruct the Department to immediately return all files on farm inspections so that direct payments could be processed.

The IFA leader said it was totally unacceptable that farmers were being denied their payments on time because files out for inspections had not been returned by officials.

Irish Independent