Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Farming and Skills Bobby Aylward TD has called on Minister Creed to expedite the administration process for TAMS II applications.

Deputy Aylward pointed out that many farmers are still waiting to hear from the Department of Agriculture regarding their applications. This is despite the fact that all paper work was submitted in June.

Deputy Aylward said, “The scheme closed for applications in June and here we are four months on with almost 2000 farmers still waiting for a decision to be made on their application. Under the terms of TAMS, farmers cannot break ground on any works until they have received approval from the Department. The delay in processing applications is making it difficult for farmers to meet construction deadlines.

“I have contacted the Department on behalf of a number of concerned farmers only to be told that the assessment process is underway. This is very unfair on all farmers, especially the 284 farmers in the dairy sector who have applied for grants for milking equipment. They need to have the necessary works completed in advance of the start of calving season in January.

Deputy Aylward continued, “How can a farmer be expected to secure planning permission, source, purchase and install machinery and complete all construction work by mid-January if their application is still outstanding? Most farmers require custom built machinery which can delay the process further.

“It’s greatly unsettling that the Department of Agriculture is forcing farmers to jump through countless hoops before being granted funding for vital farm upgrade works. Minister Creed promised change in this area and committed to reducing the amount of red-tape in the applications process. However this is yet to materialise,” concluded Deputy Aylward.