Minister must urgently resolve late payments crisis for farmers- Senator Pádraig Mac Lochlainn
Sinn Féin's Agriculture Spokesperson in the Seanad, Senator Pádraig Mac Lochlainn has again called on the Minister for Agriculture to intervene and resolve the serious delays in payments under the GLAS agri-environmental scheme to over 9,000 farmers across the State.
Senator Mac Lochlainn, who serves on the Oireachtas Agriculture Committee has again raised the crisis in the Seanad and he confirmed that senior officials in the Department of Agriculture will be brought before the committee next week to answer for the delays.
"These farmers have been waiting since last October for the payments that they are entitled to. They have honoured their side of the deal in terms of complying with the environmental management criteria of the scheme and it is long past time for the Department of Agriculture to honour their side.
Over 9,000 farmers across the State have not received their payments owed. The average amount owed is €4,000. This is a serious amount of money for small farmers already struggling to stay on the land.
Over recent years, a Charter of Rights has been agreed between farmers and the Department of Agriculture. These delays in payments have broken the spirit and intent of that charter".
"I am again calling on Minister Creed to intervene and sort this mess out. And when this is finally sorted out, the lessons have to be learned and assurances given to farmers that this will not happen again".