The Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney is being called on to utilise all EU TAMS funding by reopening TAMS for specific measures.
IFA Rural Development Chairman Flor McCarthy said it is clear from the applications and drawdown across all TAMS measures there is an underspend of up to €10m. This is due to farmers not proceeding with work for various reasons such as delays in getting Department of Agriculture approval and the changing economic circumstances of various enterprises. If this funding is not utilised by next August it will go back to Brussels.
The EU funding available only needs to be co-financed by 15% of exchequer funding. This low level of co-financing was agreed a number of years ago at the height of the recession and allowed member states which were in the bailout to utilise EU funding by applying the lowest level of national co-financing.
The IFA Rural Development Chairman said there is now an opportunity to implement a scheme targeted at specific issues such as safety measures on farms. This could include replacing damaged slats, safety fences, silage pit barriers, outside agitation points etc. Applications could be open for a short period between now and the end of the year with approvals being issued shortly afterwards and with payments made by end of August 2015. TAMS 2 will be available under the new RDP and IFA is calling for an early start-up date. This scheme must be broad based and include a much greater list of items for grant aid.