Approvals for new farm building grants cannot be made by the Department of Agriculture on an individual basis the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney has said.

The first tranche of the Young Farmer Capital Investment Scheme under TAMS II closed on September 25 and farmers who applied have yet to be approved under the scheme.

Eligible applicants can receive grant aid of 60% for a whole host of farm building projects. The scheme for young farmers was the first TAMS II scheme to open with 550 applications said to have been made to the first tranche.

Minister Coveney said this week that all applications received will be examined and approvals will commence when all of the required checks have been undertaken.

He said this is a complex process and as all applications for TAMS II must be made under a tranche-based approach, we are required to evaluate, rank and assess all applications received together.

Applications cannot be approved individually on a rolling basis, he said.

IFA Rural Development Chairman Flor McCarthy has demanded that Minister Coveney immediately addresses the approvals for TAMS II grant scheme for those farmers who want to urgently proceed to carry out critical investment on their farms.

“It is now six weeks since the Young Farmers scheme closed and it is unacceptable that the Minister is allowing this situation develop,” McCarthy said.

He said already the first tranche has closed for most schemes and he said if the handling of the first tranche of the Young Farmers scheme is anything to go by it does not auger well for the scheme as a whole.

“The problem is particularly acute for dairy farmers who have a window for investment when a cow is dried off. If they do not get the go ahead soon, then they will either postpone their investments or else leave behind much-needed grant aid of 60%,” he said.