Farmers are being reminded that they have 10 days to return their Single Farm Payment application forms to the Department of Agriculture. The Single Payment Unit of the Department will have extended opening hours to cope with late applications as the deadline looms. 

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney emphasised the importance of farmers ensuring that they lodge their applications by this date, in order to avoid late penalties that must be applied under EU rules.

“Unfortunately quite a number of applications are received after May 15 deadline each year and in some of these cases it is not possible to make any payment. Such penalties can easily be avoided simply by ensuring that applications are submitted on time.”

To facilitate receipt of applications the Single Payment Unit of the Department, based in Portlaoise, will be open to the public as follows: Monday 12 – Wednesday 14, 9am to 9pm and Thursday 15, 9am to midnight.

The Department has also resorted to texting reminders to farmers who have yet to submit their applications.

Meanwhile, the Northern Minister for Agriculture, Michelle O’Neill said her Department has received 9,958 applications, with 4,994 being submitted online, 2,256 of which are from first time users.

“However, we expect to receive considerably more applications in the time remaining, so now is the opportune time to fully utilise the online system to ensure applications are received by May 15, and reduce the risk of being penalised for late applications.”