Fianna Fáil Seanad Spokesperson on Agriculture Brian Ó Domhnaill has called on the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney to ensure that all of the outstanding payments under the Disadvantaged Areas Scheme (DAS) are processed and paid in full to farmers within the next two weeks.
Senator Ó Domhnaill has described as ‘completely unacceptable’ the ongoing delays in issuing Disadvantaged Areas payments, coming on the heels of the protracted delays in processing Agri-Environment Options Scheme payments this year.
The Donegal Senator said: “Thousands of farmers were waiting months for AEOS payments this year due to what was described as ‘technical difficulties’ at the Department of Agriculture. Now we have more technical problems caused by the digitisation of maps for the Disadvantaged Areas Scheme. The result is that nearly half way through October, there are still 25,000 farmers waiting for their DAS payments.
“All these delays and problems are causing very real concerns about a possible knock-on effect on future payments. The Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney must issue a guarantee to farmers that other schemes will not be plagued by similar unacceptable delays.
“I am also calling on Minister Coveney to fully outline details of when he expects all of the outstanding payments under DAS to be issued. I cannot understand how the introduction of a new mapping system could still be causing such lengthy delays. It has become a real worry for thousands of farmers who were already experiencing financial difficulties.”