In brief: ICMSA seeks SFP progress
Delays in the delivery of direct payments had caused serious financial hardship for thousands of farmers, the ICMSA has claimed.
Although, €1.05bn has been paid out to more than 118,600 farmers under the Single Farm Payment (SFP), full payments have been delayed to over 20,000 applicants due to delays in digitising land parcel maps.
More than €200m has still to be paid out under the SFP, with up to €25m in Disadvantaged Area Scheme (DAS) payments held up.
ICMSA deputy president John Comer said many farmers who had payments delayed were experiencing cash-flow and debt repayment pressures as a consequence and could not be expected to wait any longer for their money.
"It is absolutely essential that all mapping and other issues are resolved immediately so that all farmers can receive their outstanding SFP and DAS payments without any further delay," Mr Comer said.
"It is quite clear that farmers throughout the country are being placed under unbearable pressures to meet repayment and loan schedules by their banks, which do not seem to care that the farmers themselves are still waiting for their payments," he added.
"Agriculture Minister Brendan Smith may describe the payments performance over the past two months as 'extraordinary' if he likes.
"But many farmers who are still awaiting payment and who have received only a fraction of what they were expecting would certainly not agree with him."