Taking part in the ICSA protest outside Johnstown Castle this Monday
ICSA rural development chairman Seamus Sherlock is calling on Minister Creed to make an executive decision and pay all GLAS recipients 85 percent of their payment immediately. Speaking as thousands of farmers continue to wait for payment Mr Sherlock said
“Over the last number of days the Minister has spoken of various IT issues that are affecting payments. If these issues exist, it has nothing to do with farmers as all eligible applicants have successfully completed their tasks to qualify. Farmers kept to their side of the bargain and now the Minister must do the same. Our members need payment now, not more excuses,” he said.
Meanwhile, the ICSA held a protest meeting at Johnstown Castle, County Wexford, on Monday to highlight their case.
Some 10,000 farmers still have not received their GLAS payments and also for farmers who are waiting on AEOS payments.
The demonstration led by ICSA president Patrick Kent and Mr Sherlock was “the only option available in the face of unacceptable delays and a complete lack of communication to farmers who still have no idea when they will get their money.”
“ICSA patience with the Department has run out and it simply is not good enough to leave so many farmers high and dry over IT issues or minor technicalities with plans,” said Mr Kent.
Following the protest Mr Kent, Mr Sherlock and general secretary Eddie Punch met senior Department officials and outlined the frustration of farmers over the lengthy delay in payments.
It was acknowledged by the Department that the delays are imposing hardship to those who have yet to receive payment and that they will do their utmost to clear the backlog as soon as possible.
Mr Sherlock said that the delays were causing severe pressure for many farmers who have undertaken environmental measures which cost money or reduce productivity.
“This fiasco should never have been allowed to get so out of hand given that it is now almost two years since the scheme was first opened and given that the original objective was a scheme for 50,000 farmers. 26,000 farmers applied in the first tranche which closed in May 2015. We now have some 37,500 in the scheme with over 10,000 still waiting,” said Mr Sherlock.