January 29, 2024
Minister must provide clarification on applications accepted under TAMS grant for women farmers – Claire Kerrane TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Agriculture, Claire Kerrane TD, has called on Minister McConalogue to provide clarity on the number of applications accepted under the Women Farmers Capital Investment Scheme (WFCIS) under TAMS III.
 
Figures received in a reply to a parliamentary question submitted by Teachta Kerrane show that 259 applications were submitted for the WFCIS but none have been approved to date. The reply shows the number of accepted applications for all schemes under TAMS, except for the WFCIS. 
 
Speaking today, Teachta Kerrane said:
 
“The Minister must provide an update on the number of applications that have been accepted under the WFCIS. The reply I received from him shows that currently no applications to this scheme have been accepted, which is appalling.
 
“This capital investment scheme under TAMS III is supposed to support the participation of women in farming, to recognise their valuable work, and to provide assistance to overcome financial barriers faced in setting up or improving farm buildings and equipment. 
 
“Yet, these figures suggest that the Minister and his Department have left women farmers out with regard to TAMS funding. This is completely contrary to what the Minister has previously stated about supporting women in agriculture.
 
“I have since followed up with the Minister to seek clarity on the matter. The reply I received showed that of 259 applications, 10 were rejected and 3 withdrawn – but there is no detail on the status of the remaining almost 250 applications to the scheme. 
 
“At best women farmers who have applied for the scheme are in limbo, waiting to hear if they have been successful or not. At worst, no applications have been accepted to the scheme at all.
 
“I raised concerns about eligibility for the scheme in June last year. In order to qualify for the new scheme, women farmers must have been part of the farming enterprise in 2022 or have completed an agricultural qualification, such as the Green Cert.
 
“At that time, groups such as the Women in Agriculture Stakeholder Group (WASG) had flagged that these criteria could serve to lock out the very women that the scheme should be aimed at.
 
“It is a serious issue if it is the case that no applications have been accepted to the scheme, particularly when concerns were already raised by women farmers and representative organisations.
 
“I have received a huge response to these figures and it is clear that many are frustrated that women farmers might be left out of such a key agricultural support under TAMS III.
 
“Minister McConalogue must now provide clarity on how many applications have been accepted under the WFCIS.”
 
ENDS

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