Fianna Fáil Agriculture & Food Spokesperson Charlie McConalogue has severely criticised Minister Michael Creed for failing to meet his own targets of having all 2016 GLAS payments made by the end of April.
Deputy McConalogue explained, “Farmers’ anger is being felt right across the country, as more than 3,000 are still waiting on their 2016 GLAS payments to be made. It’s beyond a joke at this stage, with farmers now reporting serious cash flow issues as a result of these extensive delays. The Minister is neglecting farmers who have invested thousands of euro in the scheme and who have made plans in anticipation of these payments.
“The latest information that I have received from Minister Creed reveals that 3,099 GLAS 1&2 farmers are still waiting on 85% of their 2016 payment. This despite a recent Farmers Charter of Rights meeting, where Minister Creed’s Department committed that all outstanding payments would be made by the end of April.
“There are also concerns about a drop off in the number of farmers participating in the scheme. The data shows that there are only 37,000 GLAS applicants remaining, despite an initial 38,000 being approved. This reduced participation level will further increase the underspend in GLAS.
“The Minister appears to be shirking all responsibility when it comes to solving the backlog of payments and recently admitted that “a substantial number” of unpaid GLAS farmers might never receive their payments because they may be ineligible. This is another shameful kicking to touch exercise as he tries to distance himself from this shocking situation.
“In the Dáil, Fianna Fáil has exposed how GLAS is on track to leave farmers missing out on payments over €400 million up until 2020. There has been woeful neglect of hard pressed farmers the length and breadth of the country by Fine Gael under GLAS.
“I will be raising these issues directly with the Minister in the Dáil to get answers about these shameful delays”.