Fianna Fáil Agriculture Spokesperson Charlie McConalogue has received agreement from the Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture to invite Minister Michael Creed to appear before members to explain serious payment delays in the GLAS scheme.
The latest figures suggest that around 7,800 farmers are still waiting on advance payments, almost two months after they were due.
Deputy McConalogue commented, “For the second year in a row we have farmers facing serious cash flow problems as a result of the Minister’s and the Department’s failure to roll out these advance payments on time. Unfortunately the lessons of last year have been ignored and now we have a case of history repeating itself and farmers are once again waiting months for payments that were due to be paid out before the end of last year.
“Minister Creed is completely out of touch with the challenges facing small family farmers. GLAS payments average around €4,000 – that’s a substantial amount of money, which is usually budgeted for. When the payments are not made on time, as is the case again this year, farmers are left with serious cash flow problems.
“How can the Minister stand over this dysfunction for another year? These ongoing delays are a clear breach of the Farmers Charter Payment, which was agreed between the Department and farming organisations up to 2020. Under this charter, it was agreed that up to 75% of GLAS payments would commence the third week of October, with the balancing payment in mid-December. Despite this, there are thousands of farmers across the country who are still waiting for these payments at the end of January.
“I want Minister Creed to explain to the members of the Oireachtas Agriculture Committee the reason for these continued delays and what mechanisms are being put in place to ensure prompt payment. This deliberate breach of the Charter cannot be defended – it’s an insult to hardworking farmers and displays an arrogance on the part of government. These payments need to be made now”.