Pressure piles on Creed over GLAS chaos
Thousands of farmers may have to wait until June for payments
Thousands of farmers could have to wait until mid-summer to receive outstanding GLAS and AEOS payments, the Irish Natura and Hill farmers Association (INHFA) has claimed.
Approximately 8,500 farmers have still to be paid under the environmental schemes, with close to €25m being owed in total.
But the Department of Agriculture is refusing to commit to a payments' timeframe for applicants.
A Department spokesperson told the Farming Independent that it is processing payment runs "at least on a weekly basis" and will continue to do so until "validated applications are cleared".
However, the INHFA claimed it would be June by the time all GLAS and AEOS farmers were paid given the current rate at which payments were being processed.
Vincent Roddy of the INHFA described attempts by the Department of Agriculture and Government ministers to blame the complexity of the scheme for the payment delays as "self-serving and insulting to farmers".
"The very idea that Department staff or Government ministers would blame the non-issuing of payments, on the fact that the GLAS scheme was very complicated, with a difficult array of over 30 measures, is truly shocking and ignores the fact that it was the Department themselves who designed an overcomplicated scheme," Mr Roddy said.
He accused the Department and Government ministers of "trying to pass over the blame for problems of their own making".