Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture, Claire Kerrane TD, has again called on Minister McConalogue to provide a clear timeline for when delayed Agri-Climate Rural Environment Scheme (ACRES) payments will be made to Farmers.
Teachta Kerrane called on the Minister to provide answers on delays to ACRES payments in December.
The Minister had previously stated that ACRES general stream payments would continue, while ACRES co-operation project (CP) payments would commence in February, but no further information has been provided since then.
Currently, there are 28,084 farmers who still have not received an ACRES payment. This includes around 9,500 Farmers participating in the general stream and 18,438 Farmers participating in the Co-operation areas.
Speaking today, Teachta Kerrane said:
“I queried the Minister on timelines for outstanding ACRES payments in December and again two weeks ago.
“Both times he stated that his Department would continue to process general stream payments ‘subject to validation checks’, and that CP stream payments would commence in February.
“Yet, we have no further information on when CP stream payments will be made, despite us now being two days away from the start of February. It is unbelievable that 18,438 Farmers still do not know when they can expect their ACRES CP payment.
“As well as this, around 9,500 Farmers are still awaiting their general stream payment.
“As I have said before, this is completely unacceptable. In no other job would someone carry out work and be expected to wait for their payment, and it should be no different for Farmers, who have delivered on their side under the ACRES scheme.
“After such significant delays, the very least the Minister can do is provide a clear and concrete date for when Farmers can expect to receive their ACRES payments.
“I have submitted a follow up query to the Minister on this matter and I am calling on him yet again to provide clarity on this matter.”