Fianna Fáil General Election candidate for Sligo-Leitrim Cllr. Eamon Scanlon says hundreds of farmers across the North West will lose out on GLAS payments after Minister Simon Coveney ruled them out of the scheme. Around 2,500 farmers across the country have been excluded from the environmental programme, despite the majority of them being on low incomes.
Farmers across the North West received letters this week informing them of whether they have been successful in their application.
Cllr. Scanlon explained, “This is further proof, if any was needed, that Minister Coveney does not understand the challenges facing small farmers. His management of the GLAS scheme has ensured that the bigger and better off farmers have been approved for payments, while excluding farmers whose land quality is not as good as those in Tier 1 and Tier 2. This is a major flaw in the GLAS grading system and should be reviewed as a matter of urgency.
“Once again we see the smaller, less well-off farmers penalised as a result of the mismanagement of this scheme. These payments are essential for lower income farmers as they make up a significant chunk of total farm income. The fact that these farmers have been excluded highlight’s where this Minister’s priorities lie. He is essentially prioritising wealthier farmers and ensuring that they are accepted onto the scheme.
“These farmers have already had to pay fees of up to €350 to submit an application, as they had to hire agri planners to complete the paperwork. No indication has been given as to whether farmers will have to pay additional fees to update their application.
“Minister Coveney needs to revise his decision to effectively exclude Tier 3 farmers from this essential support programme. These farmers are dependent on this scheme to keep their businesses viable and the Minister has a duty to ensure that they are not overlooked in favour of more profitable producers”.