Fianna Fáil TD for Sligo-Leitrim Marc Mac Sharry has hit out at the Agriculture Minister for failing to ensure that the full allocation of GLAS spending has been paid out to farmers this year. Only €5m out of a €142m allocation for 2016 has been paid to farmers in the first 9 months of the year.
Deputy Mac Sharry explained, “There are more than 7,000 farmers across Sligo, Leitrim, Donegal and Cavan who have been approved for payments under the GLAS scheme, however the Government has fallen well behind its spending targets and many farmers have not received their 2016 payments.
“This is a particularly difficult time for farmers in the North West. The impact of Brexit is being felt most acutely in this region with the collapse of sterling and continued price volatility adding to the increased uncertainty being felt within the agri-sector. The withholding of these essential GLAS payments is exacerbating the financial worries of farmers and this situation needs to be rectified without delay.
“Fianna Fáil recently uncovered a likely €377m underspend in GLAS payments over the lifetime of the current Rural Development Programme (2014-2020). Farmers can simply not afford to lose out on this level of funding and it is imperative that Minister Creed take action and ensure that this money is paid to farmers in the period up 2020.
“Rural communities must not be left behind – the two tier recovery which was perpetrated by Fine Gael and Labour cannot be allowed to continue and there is an onus on Minister Creed to stand up for farmers and ensure that these payments are issued before the end of this year”.