Fianna Fáil Agriculture Spokesperson Charlie McConalogue has called on Minister Creed to immediately process full year payments for GLAS.

Some 38,000 farmers have signed up to the agri-environmental scheme with €142m allocated in 2016. However, only €5m has been paid out in the first 9 months of this year.

Deputy McConalogue commented, “Considering farming families in rural Ireland are being burdened by increased costs, a direct risk from Brexit and price volatility across the bulk of agri sectors, remaining GLAS payments for 2016 should be issued immediately.

“Fianna Fáil recently uncovered a likely €377m underspend in GLAS payments over the lifetime of the current Rural Development Programme (2014-2020).

“It is extremely important that all this money is paid to farmers in the period up 2020.

“Carrying forward unused farmer funds beyond 2020 is not something communities in the rural economy can afford to wait on. Starting with the remaining 2016 GLAS payments, the total €1.4b allocated to the scheme must be spent in this RDP window”.