Sinn Féin MLA John O’Dowd has called on the Minister for Agriculture to extend the deadline for single farm payments beyond 15 May 2020.
Responding to a statement by Minister Poots at the Covid-19 committee, the Upper Bann MLA said:
“Farmers are rightly extremely anxious and concerned at the spread of Covid-19 and are working frantically to meet the 15th May deadline for single farm payment applications.
“Many farmers are isolated and in rural areas and because many applications are completed online, they depend on support from others and also reliable broadband.
“Obviously due to the necessary social distancing measures that are in place, this is proving difficult or impossible for many farmers as they are unable to travel.
“So far only 6500 of around 23,000 farmers have applied for the funding. This is concerning, and I note the Minister has committed to monitoring the situation.
“I am calling on the Minister to extend the deadline beyond 15th May – our farmers are already struggling and cannot face any more hardship as a result of this crisis.”