Approximately 60% of TAMS budget for 2017 remains unused

It has been revealed that approximately 60% of the budget allocated for Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Schemes (TAMS) has so far remained unused.

Last week, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, revealed that expenditure under TAMS had reached €18.3 million in a written response to a parliamentary question from Fianna Fail’s Agriculture Spokesperson, Charlie McConalogue.

The funding in this year’s estimate for TAMS equated to €50 million, Minister Creed added. He also underlined the fact that his department has been making payments at a rate over €1 million per week on average since the beginning of August.

Speaking on the subject, Minister Creed said: “The utilisation of the budget will be dependent on claims submitted by approved applicants and I would urge applicants to submit their payment applications as soon as possible.”

Meanwhile, Deputy McConalogue has also criticised Minister Creed for standing over the “appalling delays” in payments to farmers under the TAMS II scheme.

The latest data from the department shows that out of 11,064 approved applications, there has been a total of 2,160 payment claims lodged. Out of these, 1,592 farmers have had their payment approved to date.

Farmers right across the country are very angry at the inexcusable delays in issuing TAMS payments, the Fianna Fail TD said.

Just over 11,000 farmers have applied to the scheme, adhering to all the terms and conditions. However, the bulk of them have been left waiting for months for their applications to be processed.

“The delay in TAMS payments is representative of wider problems within the department’s payments system. These delays are also being experienced by farmers who have applied to the GLAS scheme.

“Fianna Fáil has recently exposed how 92% of TAMS II funding (€389m) remains unspent at the midway point of the Rural Development Programme 2014-20. This is a shocking state of affairs.

“Farmers are stressed out wondering when they will get their payments. Many of them are under serious financial strain, urgently needing these payments to ensure that bills are paid,” Deputy McConalogue concluded.