Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Agriculture Charlie McConalogue TD has called for tomorrow’s deadline for applications to the 2018 Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) to be extended.

Deputy McConalogue made the call in light of the fact that this year is the first in which BPS applications must be made online.

“Consideration must be given by the Department to the fact that this is the first year that BPS applications must be made online.

“Consideration also needs to be taken of the recent pressures placed on farming families as a result of the fodder crisis which may also have prevented some farmers from focusing on making their application until now.

“The EU Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan has already confirmed that there is flexibility for Member States in extending the deadline for applications. Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed should make use of this flexibility and extend the deadline for at least one week. This will give any farmers that have not made their application some breathing space to get their applications in order.

“Considering that direct payments are a vital source of income for Irish farmers, making up 75% of farm incomes, the prudent thing is to extend the deadline.”