Despite there being close to 4,000 approvals to the TAMS II scheme, there have only been 100 applications to the payment claim system completed.

This is according to the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, who spoke at the joint committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine yesterday.

Admitting that there was issues with the online payment claims application system earlier this year, the Department has not been inundated with payment claims since the system opened, the Minister said.

The Department delivered on its promise to have the online payment application process opened by the end of July, but so far uptake has been slow, he said.

“We have not been overwhelmed by applications, just 100 applications for payments have been made with close to 4,000 approvals to the scheme,” Minister Creed said.

Factors contributing to the delay in applications

However, there are a number of factors contributing to the delayed completion of payment applications to the scheme, ICMSA John Comer has said.

Comer identified requirements such as the completion of a safety course, technical difficulties around terms and conditions and the requirement for production of a Tax Clearance Certificate as the main reasons why farmers have been slow to complete their TAMS II payment claims applications.

These obstacles, individually and collectively, had worked against the kind of smooth processing that the farmer-applicants had hoped for, he said.

The ICMSA President said that it was difficult to recall a time when so many farm families were so hard pressed in terms of cash-flow and it was hugely important that the Department understood and worked sympathetically with individual applicants to expedite the processing and payments.

TAMS II payments are being awaited in farms up and down the State and anything that can be done to get that money out to the waiting farmers must be considered.

“It is a matter of urgency and we’d ask the Department to appreciate that and understand the pressures that individuals are under”, Comer said.

The TAMS II scheme aims to provide farmers with grant aid to improve and/or build a specific range of farm buildings or purchase equipment that may benefit their farm businesses.

The deadline for applications for the current tranche of TAMS II will come to a close on Friday, September 30, 2016. However, a new tranche will reopen on Saturday, October 1.