February 22, 2024
Minister must deliver on commitment to make interim ACRES payments by end of February – Claire Kerrane TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture, Claire Kerrane TD, has demanded that Minister McConalogue deliver on his commitment to make all interim ACRES payments by the end of February.

The Minister committed to delivering all interim ACRES advance payments by the end of the month during an exchange with Teachta Kerrane in the Dáil this morning.

It had previously been advised by the Department for Agriculture, Food and the Marine that no firm date could be provided for when the interim payment would be made.

Speaking today, Teachta Kerrane said:

“It is very welcome that the Minister has committed to delivering all interim ACRES advance payments by the end of this month.

“He confirmed this with me when I questioned him on the delays to ACRES payments in the Dáil this morning. It is crucial now that he delivers on this commitment.

“As has been pointed out time and time again, it is unacceptable that farmers have had to wait so long for their delayed ACRES advance payments.

“The interim payments have been described by organisations as a ‘lifeline’ for farmers, many of whom have been under serious financial pressure as a result of their ACRES payment being delayed for so long.

“They must be able to rely on the announced interim payment being paid promptly. It is the very least the Minister and his Department can do.

“I also queried the Minister on other ACRES timelines, including when the remainder of ACRES advance payments and balancing payments can be expected. He did not give me a concrete timeline and this is something I will continue to pursue.

“I also queried concerns that have been raised around taxation implications on farmers receiving two ACRES payments in one year. The Minister referred to an averaging system available for farm income.

“I pointed out to him that currently only 5,530 farmers make use of this averaging system option. Therefore, this option either needs to be better communicated to farmers or an alternative solution must be sought should farmers be affected.

“The delays to ACRES payments and any resulting taxation implications are no fault of farmers and the Minister must ensure that they do not experience any further issues as a result of his failure to make such an important farm payment on time.

“It is important that Minister McConalogue meets the payment of interim payments next week as he has committed to ensure that farmers receive their ACRES payments without any further delay.”

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