Farm Ireland

Saturday 24 February 2018

Minister has yet to receive his own farm grant, as farmer anger grows

Andrew Doyle Minister of State for Food, Forestry and Horticulture. Photo: Tom Burke
Andrew Doyle Minister of State for Food, Forestry and Horticulture. Photo: Tom Burke
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Minister for State at the Department of Agriculture, Andrew Doyle has said he is among those waiting on payments under the agri environment scheme GLAS.

Some 8,000 farmers are still waiting on payments under the scheme, despite Department commitments to issue payments in October.

Speaking in the Seanad this week, the Minister admitted that there is a ‘GLAS is an overhang’. Indeed, he said he had not been paid himself.

“I have been told that it is an IT issue”.

Minister Doyle said there is a dedicated team of officials on the sixth floor of Agriculture House going through these cases one by one to get them through.

“It is not in the Department's interest to hold on to anybody's money because they have to explain further down the line to both the European Commission and the Court of Auditors that have targets to hit regarding their payments,” he said.

IFA Rural Development Chairman Joe Brady has said farmers are angered by the failure of the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed to make a case in Brussels for all outstanding GLAS payments to be made.

Joe Brady said ongoing delays in GLAS payments are inexcusable, “There is a way to solve this issue by making all outstanding payments now and resolving any issues that arise at a later date. It is very disappointing that the Minister has not pursued this option.”

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“Farmers who have undertaken work have been treated very badly and the explanations for the delays are wearing very thin.”

Joe Brady said progress in making payments has been very sluggish since the beginning of the year and IFA estimates that it will take at least another three months to make all payments unless urgent action is taken.

 IFA is again calling on Minister Creed to intervene with imaginative ways of making payments.

“Farmers due payments are suffering through severe cash flow difficulties and expect the Minister to act now,” Joe Brady concluded

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