Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has described delays in the Department of Agriculture making payments under the GLAS an AEOS schemes as scandalous, and has called on the Minister to intervene to relieve the financial pressure many family farms are under as a result of these delays.
The latest figures from the Department reveal that almost 9,000 farmers are still waiting for their 2016 GLAS payments, while there are over 2,600 farmers who have not received their 2016 AEOS funds.
Deputy McConalogue commented, “I am seriously concerned about the delays in these payments. I am meeting with farmers every week who are at the end of their tether, as a result of the additional financial strain which has been placed on them as a result of the delays. These delays are unprecedented – and completely unacceptable.
“Under the Farmers’ Charter, 75% of payment was due last October, it’s now February and we have a situation where 11,592 farmers are still waiting for their payments to be made. This is seriously threatening farm livelihoods, with many farmers having taken out loans, with the expectation that their farm payments would be made in October. They are now struggling to make repayments with the little income they’re making.
“Small family farms have taken a huge hit over the past number of years as a result of price volatility and cash flow problems and these delays are exacerbating an already difficult situation. Minister Creed’s excuse that these delays are down to an IT issue are not holding any water with farmers. This is funding that should have been paid months ago.
“This Government cannot continue to treat small farmers like second class citizens. The Minister needs to stand up for these farmers instead of hiding behind feeble excuses.
“I am urging him to clear the backlog of delayed payments as a matter of urgency”.