The Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed has been called upon to make unused monies available to provide additional funding to ensure all valid applicants are allowed into the GLAS scheme.

The call was made by the ICMSA’s Farm and Rural Affairs Committee Chairman Pat Rohan following the closing of the third tranche of the scheme for applications last week.

“The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine initially committed to providing funding for a total of 50,000 participants in GLAS but there has been considerable demand for the Scheme with the two most recent tranches significantly oversubscribed.

“In excess of 2,500 farmers did not gain access to tranche II despite having incurred the cost of preparing plans and tranche III applicants are now facing the same problem with the scheme once again oversubscribed.

“GLAS has proven to be a very popular scheme with measurable environmental benefits and we should build on this which is why ICMSA is calling on Minister Creed to utilise unused funds from other areas and divert that money to GLAS to allow entry for all valid applicants in Tiers I, II and III,” Rohan said.

GLAS payments commence this week

Meanwhile, the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed announced on Wednesday that 2016 payments will begin to issue this week under the Green, Low-Carbon, Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS).

This scheme is co-funded under Ireland’s Rural Development Programme (RDP).

Minister Creed said he is pleased that payments will commence for the first full year of the GLAS Scheme to participants in the first two tranches of GLAS.

Payments representing 85% of the full year payment for 2016, the first full year of the Scheme, will commence and are expected to reach bank accounts in the coming days.

“These payments worth just under €100m, will give a welcome boost to both the wider rural economy and to individual Scheme participants which will be particularly welcome given the challenges faced by farmers in recent times,” he said.