Deputy Jackie Cahill
Fianna Fáil TD for Tipperary, Jackie Cahill has criticised Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed over delays in processing 2016 payments to farmers under the agri-environmental schemes GLAS and AEOS.
Deputy Cahill made the comments after receiving new information which shows that 251 farmers in Tipperary were still awaiting their 2016 GLAS payment while 72 were yet to receive their AEOS payment.
“Every day my office is contacted by farmers who are increasingly frustrated given the fact that they are still awaiting 2016 GLAS and AEOS payments. The Department assured them a number of weeks ago that the payments would be processed without delay. This still has not occurred for many farmers,” he said.
Farmers were frustrated as they had budgeted that they would have been paid by now and it’s causing financial hardship, said Deputy Cahill.
“Ongoing delays are a clear breach of the Farmers Charter Payment agreed between the Department and farming organisations. Under this, it was agreed that up to 75 per cent of GLAS payments would commence in the third week of October, with the balancing payment being made by mid-December,” he said.
The former ICMSA leader said that the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed had some “serious explaining” to do as his Department has continually struggled to meet deadlines associated with farm payments.
“It’s just not good enough that the Department, under his watch, has failed to process these payments. These payments are what, in many cases, are keeping farms afloat. Delays in making these payments increases the risk of defaulting on loans, and putting farmers out of business.
“I’m calling on Minister Creed to immediately release these payments to ensure that farmers can deal with the pressing challenges that they face, such as volatility issues and cash flow problems,” said Deputy Cahill.