The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has given a commitment to the IFA that all outstanding 85% GLAS payments will be completed by the end of April.

The commitment was reportedly given at a meeting of the Farmers’ Charter of Rights Monitoring Committee in Portlaoise, Co. Laois yesterday.

The delays in GLAS payments to around 4,000 farmers are totally unacceptable, according to the IFA’s Deputy President Richard Kennedy.

He called on the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, to get all payments out without any further delay.

The debacle over GLAS payments has set a very bad tone for farmers’ confidence in the payments system, Kennedy said following yesterday’s meeting.

The delay has caused severe cashflow difficulties on the thousands of farms affected and the commitment given to make payments by the end of April must be delivered on; otherwise the credibility of the scheme will be questioned by many farmers.

Earlier this week, Minister Creed confirmed that 2,911 cases under GLAS 1 and 1,246 cases under GLAS 2 are being worked through on an ongoing basis.

All cases that are cleared for payment are being paid on a weekly basis, Minister Creed said in response to a recent parliamentary question.

“Under the EU regulations governing GLAS and all other area-based payment schemes, a full check, including cross-checks with the Land Parcel Identification System, must take place before payment can issue,” he said.

BPS applications

Meanwhile, the Department’s decision to provide dedicated support services to assist farmers in submitting BPS applications online, in some of its offices and other locations throughout the country, was welcomed by Kennedy at yesterday’s meeting.

It is important that farmers are given all the help necessary to make online applications ahead of the requirement for all applications to be made online next year, the IFA’s Deputy President said.

Farmers who apply online can also benefit from pre-checking, instant confirmation of receipt of application, reduced application errors and greater accuracy, online maps, text alerts from the Department, payment on time within deadlines and linkages to other schemes, he added.

This year a limited number of farmers have reportedly been prevented from submitting an online BPS application, due to delayed GLAS payments.

Minister Creed has confirmed that his Department is aware of the fact that details of individual GLAS applications are not yet visible for some farmers when they log onto the Department’s on-line BPS applications facility.

Departmental staff are currently working on the issue, he said, and it is set to be resolved shortly.