Newly elected IFA Deputy President Richard Kennedy has severely criticised the lack of progress issuing approvals to farmers to commence work under the TAMS farm investment scheme.

He was speaking following a meeting of the Charter of Rights Monitoring Committee yesterday.

Kennedy called on the Minister for Agriculture to intervene immediately on this urgent matter as he says waiting a further two weeks, as indicated by the Department of Agriculture, is unacceptable to farmers.

TAMS approvals are still held up for 5,000 farmers and IFA made this a priority issue at yesterday’s Charter of Rights Monitoring Committee meeting in Portlaoise.

The Department of Agriculture has confirmed that it is still working on its IT system which approves applicants to the TAMS II scheme.

The Department says all applications received in any tranche for TAMS II are examined, validated and then have to be ranked and selected.

Approvals commence when this process is complete, it told Agriland.

Putting farmer investment plans on hold is adding to the frustration of farmers at this difficult time and the Deputy President called on Minister Coveney to step in and insist that all tranche applications be given approval to proceed.

He said it is totally unacceptable that nine months after TAMS II opened, approvals have not yet been made to the vast majority of farmers who have applied.

“Following two tranches of the scheme, and with the third tranche now open, IFA is questioning Minister Coveney’s commitment to the scheme,” he said.

At the Charter meeting yesterday, IFA put forward many examples of farmers’ difficulties including the fact that many farmers have applied for silage slabs, which must be put down at least six weeks before silage is put in them.

Delays are also very worrying for young farmers who are concerned they will miss out on the 60% grant, it said.