Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture, Claire Kerrane TD, has called on Minister McConalogue to take urgent action to avoid delays in farm payments.
There have been significant concerns raised by Farmers to the announced delay to Basic Income for Sustainability Scheme (BISS) and Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) payments this year.
Minister McConalogue has been made aware of these concerns since April, but to date no measures have been taken by the Department to ensure payments are made on time.
Speaking today, Teachta Kerrane said:
“It has been made clear to the Minister that the announced change in payment date for the BISS and ANC schemes are completely unacceptable.
“I am being contacted by Farmers who are only now being made aware of delays to the payments as we are approaching September. Farmers will be expecting their payments to be made this month as usual and instead are now finding they are facing delays of up to a month, which will cause stress and worry for many.
“Farmers and farm organisations have highlighted that a delay to payments will cause havoc over the coming months, as bills and repayments are due. This is on the back of a very difficult financial year for Farmers as prices across the board have risen sharply.
“On raising this with the Minister, he has insisted that because this is the first year of the new CAP and new IT systems are in place, payment delays cannot be helped.
“The Minister said the Department has done everything they can around payment dates, but this is simply not good enough. I understand it is challenging, but the Department must ensure that Farmers receive their payments on time.
“I have written to Minister McConalogue again today, to reinforce how serious this matter is for Farmers and to urge him to take action to avoid delays.”