Only a third of TAMS II funding has been spent – Creed

The Minister of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, has confirmed that only about 33% of the funding for the Targeted Agriculture Modernisation Scheme (TAMS) II has been spent.

Of the €395 million that was originally allocated to the fund, only about €92.4 million in payments has been issued.

The confirmation from the minister has been described as “alarming” by Charlie McConalogue, Fianna Fail Spokesperson on Agriculture, Food and the Marine, who blamed the bureaucracy involved in applying as the reason farmers were opting not to sign up.

The programme, which provides grant aid for farm buildings and equipment, is an essential revenue stream, which allows farmers to repair and upgrade their operations.

“This current programme only runs until 2020, and I have serious concerns that the money will not be spent in the time remaining,” said McConologue.

He added that: “Serious question have to be asked about the ability of the minister and his department to manage this vitally important scheme.”

The purpose of the TAMS II fund is to provide farmers with aid to improve their farm infrastructure and machinery.

It was launched in June 2015, and is partially funded by the Rural Development Programme. It’s due to come to a close concurrently with that programme in 2020.

McConologue added that: “The scheme was launched in June 2015, but the online payment system only became operational a year later.”

“This delay, combined with rigid bureaucracy in the application process, has resulted in large numbers of farmers growing disillusioned with the process and choosing not to lodge claims for approved works,” he added.

McConologue pointed out that last year’s spending review by the Department of Public Expenditure found a delay between applications being made and payments being issued.