Some 3,000 farmers under GLAS have not passed all of the Department of Agriculture’s pre-payment validation checks for 2015, the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed has said.

The Minister was responding to a parliamentary question from Fianna Fail’s Agriculture Spokesman Charlie McConalogue who requested the number of farmers yet to pass the checks under the scheme.

“Almost 19,000, of the 22,000 GLAS 1 applications due an outstanding 2015 payment , which in the majority represents the 2015 balancing payment, have successfully completed the most recent GLAS pre-payment validation checks for 2015.

“The outstanding amount due to these applicants will issue shortly. Queries on a further 1,800 cases are being processed.

“These include cases where there were issues on the applicants Basic Payment Claim or issues which arose at inspection.”

The remaining 1,200 applications, which includes cases where the applicant has amended their original application and cases which have had changes to land parcel information are being reviewed and processed by my Department on a case-by-case basis.

The Minister said that as these issues are resolved applications will be sent for payment on an ongoing basis.

GLAS Tranche 1 applications with a start-date of October 1, 2015 and which have GLAS actions which are payable in 2015 are eligible for a 2015 part-year payment covering the three-month period October 1 to December 31, 2015.

Calls for next tranche of GLAS to be amended, improved and opened immediately

Earlier this week, the ICMSA called for the next tranche of GLAS needs to be amended, improved and opened immediately, to allow for orderly planning, reduce errors and to provide farmers with adequate time to assess their options.

Patrick Rohan, Chairperson of ICMSA’s Farm and Rural Affairs Committee also said that certain changes to existing stipulations and some new measures are required to make the scheme more attractive to intensive farmers, particularly in light of likely forthcoming climate change commitments.

He said that farmers have had legitimate complaints that the ‘time-window’ allowed for applications in previous schemes was too narrow and that the resulting tight timescales have led to mistakes and involved penalties and disputes.

It is in all our interest that penalties are kept to an absolute minimum and providing adequate time for careful applications will certainly help.

“In addition, it’s simpler and safer to access farmland during the summer period with more time available during the long evenings for the farmer and planners more time to choose options that are most suitable to the farm in question.”

He said, for these reasons it is absolutely essential that the terms and conditions of GLAS 3 are finalised without delay and the scheme opened for applications.