Fianna Fáil TD for Sligo-Leitrim Eamon Scanlon has welcomed the appointment of additional staff to Teagasc to deal with the demand for Green Cert courses, but has called on the Agriculture Minister to guarantee that these courses will continue into the future.

A number of Green Cert courses in Ballymote, which were due to take place in June, have been cancelled and farmers are justifiably concerned about delays, as Green Certs are needed to qualify for the Young Farmers Scheme and the National Reserve.

Deputy Scanlon commented, “My office has been inundated with calls from worried farmers who were due to undertake Green Cert courses, which have subsequently been cancelled.  This is not a situation specific to the North West, it’s happening right across the country.

“I welcome the response from Minister Michael Creed that extra staff will be assigned to Teagasc to respond to the large level of interest in the courses and to ensure that additional places can be offered, however I would like assurances from the Minister that these courses will continue past the 2017-2019 timeframe that he outlined.

“The Green Cert is an essential qualification for young farmers, and is needed to apply for the Young 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.  This necessitates the need for courses to be run into the future, and not just until 2019.

“I am also calling on Minister Creed to provide a list of locations where the courses will be delivered this year.  The farmers who have contacted me have still not been notified of a rescheduled course and are anxious to ensure that one is provided this year.  These courses are extremely important for young farmers and need to be rolled out as a matter of priority”.