Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Agriculture & Food Charlie McConalogue has castigated the Fine Gael led Government for yet another massive underspend in Department funding last year.

The recent Exchequer returns showed that Department of Agriculture spending was a massive €78m behind target for 2017. This comes on foot of 2016 expenditure figures from the Comptroller and Auditor General which revealed the Department had a gross spending deficit of €106m.

“The latest underspend figures are shocking considering the severe cash flow crisis facing farmers along with price volatility and the threat of Brexit”, said Deputy McConalogue.

“The scale of unspent money is reflective of Department delays in issuing payments on time.  Even though we are now into 2018, there are thousands of GLAS farmers who are still waiting on their 2017 advance payments.  This is a ridiculous situation and is causing major problems for smaller family farms.

“The Minister must give assurances that all of the unspent money will be used and I am calling on him to guarantee that payment deadlines for 2018 will be met.  Fianna Fáil will continue to campaign strongly to ensure that these payments and programmes are delivered on time”.