Sheep men demand payments
Sheep farmers are becoming increasingly desperate for the long awaited Sheep Grassland Scheme payments to start.
A harsh winter, with correspondingly higher costs, has left the IFA's sheep chairman James Murphy fielding calls from anxious farmers.
The payment, which amounts to €10/ewe, was due to be paid out six weeks ago, according to announcements made by the Minister for Agriculture, Brendan Smith.
"We know that the EU has come back with additional queries on the scheme," said Mr Murphy, "but the minister and the Department have had adequate time to resolve any technical questions raised by Brussels." As a result, the farm leader said that the minister should instruct the Department to proceed with the payment. "The IFA fought a long, hard two-year campaign to secure an annual payment of €18m in unused CAP funds for the sheep sector," he said. "It's not good enough that farmers end up being the fall-guy every time there's a problem."