Department need to get payments out before Christmas – ICMSA

With Christmas fast approaching, the Department of Agriculture has been urged to ensure that every effort is made to resolve outstanding issues and to ensure payments are made before Christmas.

ICMSA Deputy President, Pat McCormack said that ongoing difficulties are being experienced by farmers who have yet to receive payments from the Department of Agriculture.

In addition, he stressed how important it was that AEOS, GLAS, BDGP and outstanding ANC payments are also made immediately as that money is desperately needed to pay the costs associated with scheme participation.

However, McCormack welcomed the significant progress made with regard to Basic Payment Scheme payment levels compared to the same time last year.

The latest figures presented show that 98% of applicants have received their full payment.

“We’re happy to acknowledge the progress made in terms of getting the BPS payments out but that’s not to ignore the cases still outstanding and we’d ask the Department to redouble its efforts to get all payments out before Christmas so that farmers can – if they can at all – try and pay off some of their debt and start 2017 on a positive note,” he said.

GLAS payments to issue next week

Meanwhile, farmers are to receive a welcome cash boost from Monday of next week, with GLAS payments expected to issue.

Earlier this year the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed said that payments under the Green Low-carbon Agri-environment Scheme (GLAS) would issue in December.

Some 85% of payments under GLAS 1 and 2 are to commence on Monday, according to a spokesperson from the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) who has been in contact with Department of Agriculture officials.

The spokesperson said that the remaining 15% of payments are to issue in January for GLAS 2. Some of the remaining payments in GLAS 1 may be held up until later in the spring due to inspections needing to take place, he said.

But he said that the Department will strive to issue the payments as soon as possible to farmers.