Combination of factors holding up GLAS payments – Minister

As of last week, there was some 9,200 Green Low-Carbon Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS) outstanding payments yet to be made by the Department of Agriculture, the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, has said.

IFA Deputy President, Richard Kennedy, questioned the Minister on the delays in payments across the various schemes at yesterday’s IFA AGM.

He said that farmers are very unhappy as targets under the Farmers Charter of Rights are not being met.

The Minister said that there are a combination of issues holding up the payments and that there are two stories to tell on farm payments, in fact maybe three.

“We would be contacted at the Department regularly by other Member States to look at our systems [of payment].

“Though if you’re waiting it’s a severe problem in terms of you cashflow, income and management. But we are best in class at European level in terms of getting payments out.”

We are a little behind the curve on GLAS payments at the moment but a lot of the delays are on issues where there is documentation outstanding, there are queries and possible fines – we are working through those.

“There are issues where there are individual cases and we’re clearing them as we process them as quickly as we can.

“As of last week there was 9,263 [outstanding cases] and we’re engaging with individuals where there is documentation outstanding.

“There are others where they’re being cleared and we’re paying them as quickly as possible. But there is a combination of issues in terms of getting those payments out.

“We have no vested interest in holding up the payments but we have to make sure that the checks and balances are complied with.

“I appreciate as a farmer previously, as a backbencher and now a Minister the importance of that. I don’t lose sight of that at all just because I sit in the Ministerial seat. I know that its something the Department is trying to fulfil as quickly as possible.”