Farm organisations call for more urgency on payments
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.
"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."