Fianna Fáil TD for Mayo Dara Calleary has accused the Agriculture Minister of failing hundreds of farm families across the county by delaying essential payments. Minister Simon Coveney has presided over a substantial drop in expenditure in the past year and is almost €100m behind gross expenditure targets for 2015.
Deputy Calleary commented, “Farmers across Mayo have been left without essential supports as a result of these delayed payments leaving them financially exposed. The latest figures from the Department of Finance reveal that gross expenditure in the Department of Agriculture is nearly €100m behind target for the first 10 months of the year. This is mostly due to the substantial delays in CAP payments which are due under the basic payment scheme.
“Minister Coveney has failed to ensure a speedy application process and as a result farmers are tens of millions of euro out of pocket. Not only are the CAP payments delayed, the Capital Allocation is running €20 million behind target and there are more than 15,000 payments under the Areas of Natural Constraints scheme still outstanding.
“This Minister fails to understand the importance of agriculture programmes to average farmers. He has presided over a disastrous Beef Genomics Scheme, imposed further restrictions on GLAS and now data from the Government confirms that CAP and other payments are severely delayed. Farmers in Mayo are extremely frustrated with the situation. They feel as if they are not being listened to and are being unfairly penalised by new lower payments. Many farmers are already under severe financial pressure and the combination of lower and delayed payments is adding to an already stressful situation.
“These delays must be urgently addressed and I am calling on Minister Coveney to ensure that all his Department’s resources are used to ensure that these lengthy delays are tackled. Farmers have already come through a very difficult period and the least they can expect is for their payments to be made on time”.