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Farmers protest nationwide over 'late' payments

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IFA President Joe Healy leads farmers on a protest at the Department of Agriculture on Kildare Street. Picture: Finbarr O'Rourke

IFA President Joe Healy leads farmers on a protest at the Department of Agriculture on Kildare Street. Picture: Finbarr O'Rourke

IFA President Joe Healy leads farmers on a protest at the Department of Agriculture on Kildare Street. Picture: Finbarr O'Rourke

Farmers have taken to the streets to highlight the continued delays in payments.

IFA led a protest of farmers outside the Department of Agriculture offices on Kildare Street, as 30pc of farmers are still waiting on payments from the environmental scheme GLAS, worth an estimated €35m.

IFA President Joe Healy said payments under the scheme were due in October, however more than 9,000 farmers have yet to be paid, despite having completed the actions required, incurring significant costs and planning fees in doing so.

“It is absolutely unacceptable that farmers who joined the GLAS scheme almost two years ago, and who were promised payments last October are still waiting with no definite answers as to when they can expect to get paid."

While 28,000 farmers were paid in December, he said there has been virtually no movement on payments since then, leaving €35m due to farmers.

Louth farmer Eoin White who was at the IFA protest said his family qualified for €2,500 under the Scheme and while neighbours of his had been paid, they were still waiting on 80pc of their payment.

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Eoin White from Cooley, Co. Louth. PIcture: Finbarr O'Rourke

Eoin White from Cooley, Co. Louth. PIcture: Finbarr O'Rourke

Eoin White from Cooley, Co. Louth. PIcture: Finbarr O'Rourke

"We paid a planner €950 so we could join the scheme last year. Bills come in all the time and that money is spent and we are still waiting to be fully paid.

"Every time we've rang the Department we're given a different excuse," he said.

Meanwhile, in the Taoiseach's home town of Castlebar, over 200 members of the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association protested at the Department of Agriculture's office over the delay in GLAS payments.

Vincent Roddy National Chair of INHFA said that if necessary "experts in IT systems must be outsourced to sort out this mess,farmers cannot wait any longer for their wages, what other sector in Irish society would put up with this."

The Department said that because all GLAS applications must pass regulatory controls and validations the outstanding cases are being reviewed on a case-by-case basis to resolve the individual issues in each instance.

It also said that 27,400 of the 37,500 participants in the scheme received 85pc of their payment totalling almost €100m before the end of last year and said that every effort is being made to issue the outstanding payments.

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