Fianna Fáil TD for Sligo-Leitrim Eamon Scanlon has criticised the delays in the rollout of Green Cert courses in the North West region and is calling on the Agriculture Minister to give concrete assurances that they’ll begin this autumn.

Deputy Scanlon commented, “The fact that these courses were cancelled earlier this year, despite the huge demand for them, is a clear indication that the Minister and his Department have lost touch with the average young farmer.  What’s worse is that Minister Creed has changed the criteria for applications under direct CAP payments requiring young farmers to hold a FETAC level 6 course qualification.  How can they complete the course when it isn’t even being offered in their area?  The whole situation is ridiculous.

“I have been pressing Minister Creed for a number of months on this issue and he has confirmed that additional Teagasc staff have been allocated to meet the demand for these courses.  However, I want concrete assurances from the Minister that these courses will be rolled out in the North West area without delay.

“All young farmers now need the Green Cert qualification to apply to essential CAP schemes like the Farmers Scheme and the National Reserve.  It’s also one the conditions of the stamp duty exemption on the transfer of a farm from a parent to their son or daughter.  The fact that the Minister stood over the initial cancellation of these courses in 2017 is extremely worrying and I want a guarantee that the courses will be provided over the coming years.

“The importance of these courses cannot be overestimated and I will continue to pursue this issue with the Minister”.