Farm Ireland

Friday 19 January 2018

‘In what other sector of society would this be acceptable’ – Farmers left waiting months on end for payments

Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

The Minster for Agriculture, Michael Creed has been urged to make payments to the 14% of farmers in the GLAS Scheme still due their first payment, and to proceed to make the last part of all GLAS payments without further delay.

IFA Rural Development Chairman Joe Brady, said that since the 1st January, 4,600 farmers have received their 85% payments, on top of the 28,000 who were paid before the end of 2016. 

This leaves about 5,400 farmers still to be paid. The final 15% payment is due to all farmers and GLAS+ payment of up to €2,000 is due to 2,600 farmers.

 Brady said that in total around €50m is still due to GLAS farmers and the delays in their payments are totally unacceptable as the situation has led to significant cash flow problems on many farms. 

The IFA Rural Development Chairman has urged Minister Creed to ensure there is no repeat of this debacle later this year when full payment will be due to 52,000 farmers in the scheme.

IFA will be insisting that a cast-iron guarantee is given by the Minister that the Charter of Rights Commitment will not be flagrantly flouted again and payments will be made in the timelines that were committed to.

Meanwhile Luke Ming Flanagan MEP has also been critical of the Minister on this issue.

He said the fact that, irrespective of delays, it was Christmas 2016 before there were any payments issued in respect of GLAS the flagship environmental scheme of the Rural Development Plan (RDP) 2013-2020 demonstrates the lack of commitment to those who depend on these payments. 

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“As we pass St Patricks Day 2017 and many still not paid it is a shocking indictment of the indifference of  Minister Creed and his department to the struggles of these farmers to make ends meet and to provide for their families.

“Why Minister is the small farmer treated with such contempt? 

“What other sector of society or indeed what other sector of agriculture would the current situation be acceptable?

“Where is the basic fairness in a system, where if the farmer misses a deadline by a day or is in minor breach of a regulation heavy penalties are imposed, while on the other hand inefficiency, incompetence, and most worryingly many believe, deliberate procrastination, is tolerated in your department and nobody is held to account.

“Ireland prides itself on having the best educated IT workforce in the world capable of attracting high tech industry to Ireland.  It is inconceivable that we cannot bring in a few experts to sort out “IT issues” allegedly holding up payment long overdue to farmers,” he said.

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