First payments made out of tillage crisis fund
The first 45 payments under ‘the crop loss support measure‘ have been issued. The tillage crisis fund was the focus of the last tillage forum, held in Februray.
The IFA staged a protest outside of Agriculture House in July calling for a fund to be made available to farmers, some of whom lost the majority of their crops.
Four members of the IFA Grain Committee staged a sit-in in the building from July 5 until July 12, forcing the department to fast-track talks with the group.
Liam Dunne from Co. Kildare, who is the chairman of the committee; James Hill from Co. Wicklow; Peter Lynch from Co. Donegal; and Kieran McEvoy from Co. Laois made themselves comfortable until the department moved on the fund. Many other members also set up camp outside.
The measure was launched by the government in July – in an effort to assist growers who had been most affected by the wet harvest weather of September 2016.
A total of 167 farmers applied to the measure and the first tranche of payments have been issued; but just 45 farmers have received payments to date.
A large number of applicants have been asked to supply further information, or clarification, before these applications are fully processed.
A spokesperson for the department stated that: “The first tranche of payments under the measure has now been issued. In a large number of cases, further information or clarification is required in order to fully process applications.
“In all of these cases, the applicants have been contacted directly by an official from the department. As the further information requested is received; these cases will be examined again and subsequent pay runs will be put in place – as more cases are cleared for payment.”
The table below shows the number of applicants on a county-by-county basis and which ones have already received payment.
Commenting on the issue, Fianna Fail’s agriculture spokesperson, Charlie McConalogue, said he is “appalled” that fewer than one third of farmers who had applied for payment under the tillage compensation scheme have received payments.
The fact that almost three-quarters of farmers who applied for urgent assistance remain unpaid at this point in time, is a shocking indictment of just how out of touch this government is with small farmers and rural Ireland.
“Almost every farm scheme is experiencing unacceptable delays, but the fact that this is a compensation scheme is a major concern,” said deputy McConalogue.
Concluding he added: “These farmers are already under enormous pressure after two wet summers. The minister needs to immediately accelerate the delivery of these payments to ensure their farms can remain viable.”