Direct payments to farmers from Department of Agriculture can’t be delayed – Mac Lochlainn
Sinn Féin's Seanad Spokesperson on Agriculture, Senator Pádraig Mac Lochlainn said he supports the calls from the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA) for the Department of Agriculture to stand over the commitments they have made under the Farmer’s Charter. Following the chaos and delays in payment in 2015 of Basic Payment Scheme and Areas of Natural Constrain (formerly Disadvantaged Areas Scheme) monies, Senator Mac Lochlainn stressed that the same problems should not occur this year.
Senator Mac Lochlainn said:
"I fully support the ICMSA's call that all applications, including entitlement transfers, should be processed by the end of August and letters issued to those farmers deemed to have issues requiring resolution.
“Under the Farmers Charter, the Department is committed “to have all problems dealt with by 15th September”. If this commitment is going to be met, then farmers need to be informed without delay so that they can address the problems raised, respond to the Department, and have the issue finalised by the 15th September.
“My office has contacted the Minister for Agriculture and officials in the Department of Agriculture and have re-iterated the need for the demands of the ICMSA to be met.
“These demands include that any problems in applications should be communicated to applicants by the end of August at the latest, a text confirmation should be sent to all farmers advising successful application and all problems that arise need to be dealt with by September 15th at the very latest.
“It is not good enough that we are now in mid-August and farmers still do not know what stage their applications are at. The hallmarks of the problems that arose last year seem to be arising again this year.
“My party and I will continue representations to the Minister and his Department to ensure these sensible calls are addressed and that the commitments made are honoured.”