‘Payment delays will not be tolerated’

The Department of Agriculture has been called to ensure that the payments farmers are expecting in the coming weeks will be made on time.

The calls were made at a Charter of Rights Monitoring Committee meeting in on Thursday, October 6 by IFA Deputy President Richard Kennedy, who said that delayed payments will not be tolerated.

Kennedy outlined, to Chairman Sean Brady and to the Department, that all payments due now must be paid on time and in line with the deadlines set down in the Charter.

Payment delays will not be tolerated with the severe income crisis at farm level, according to Kennedy, with direct payments more important than ever this year.

Kennedy said farmers are expecting to receive a full 70% advance payment on their Basic Payment and Greening on Monday, October 17.

In addition, he said more farmers should be paid on the first day given the significant increase in the number of online applications and the pre-checking of files in June this year.

The IFA Deputy President told the Charter Monitoring Committee that the Department service to farmers with queries and problems must meet the commitments in the Charter.

He said the Department telephone service needs to improve as farmers are very frustrated when they are left waiting for someone to take their call and hear nothing back within a reasonable time period.

The IFA Deputy President also said that the Department must have an efficient and effective system in place to resolve problems and get payment out on these cases without undue delay.

With the new CAP Basic Payment System now in place for over a year and problems like IT, digitisation, partnerships and entitlements cannot be used this year for any delays in payments, according to Kennedy.

Meanwhile on GLAS, Kennedy said an 85% advance payment must be paid to 38,000 farmers from the end of October, in line with the Charter commitments.

He also welcomed the commencement of Areas of Natural Constraint Payments and noted that both farmer number and amounts paid will be up on last year’s levels.