The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine is being called on to address a delay in approving applications under the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS) II.

Joe Brady, the rural development chairman with the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), described it as “unacceptable that Minister Michael Creed is sitting on applications for TAMS grants”.

In response to a recent parliamentary question from Labour TD Willie Penrose, Minister Creed confirmed that, out of the €395 million allocated to TAMS II under the Rural Development Programme (RDP) 2014-2020, approximately €145 million has been spent, including transitional payments.

Brady highlighted that farmers who have applied under the scheme “are anxious to proceed with work, particularly as the weather is ideal for construction, and works can be completed well in advance of next winter”.

Particularly, the rural development chair outlined the demand for feed bins for drystock farmers.

“There was a pent-up demand for this item under the scheme and now that it is eligible, the minister and his department must give all farmers who applied the go ahead, as well as all other applicants,” Brady said.

“Holding up approvals is totally unacceptable. At the rate of expenditure to date, the full allocation will not be used up,” he argued, highlighting that there is only 18 months left in the current RDP.

Brady did welcome the introduction of a solar panels grant.

“It is clear that the allocation of €10 million for this new measure is the first admission by the minister that there will be an underspend on TAMS,” he claimed.

He argued that the spending on solar panels must be followed up with the inclusion of underpasses, rubber mats and “an increase in the investment limit for the intensive sector”.