COVID-19

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IFA COVID-19 Guidelines and FAQs

COVID-19 Alerts and Updates

**UPDATE 15th May – All Driving licences and Learner Permits expiring from 1 March to 30 June 2020 have been extended by four months.**

The National Driver Licence Services (NDLS) has extended the validity of driving licences and learner permits. All Driving licences and Learner Permits expiring from 1 March to 30 June 2020 have been extended by four months. For more information please see the latest FAQ’s

The validity period of Driver theory test certificates, Certificates of competency, IBT and CPC certificates expiring between 1 March 2020 and 30 June 2020 have also been extended by four months. For more information please see the latestFAQ’s


**UPDATE 8th May – There are a number of Government backed COVID Loan schemes both in the pipeline and operational. **

There are a number of Government backed COVID Loan schemes both in the pipeline and operational. The introduction of the new €2billion COVID Credit Guarantee Scheme (CCGS) will depend on the drafting of legislation by the new Government which then must be passed by the Dáil.

See here for more details.


UPDATE 2nd May - Farmers will be able to apply to a new €2bn COVID-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme.

The new €2bn COVID-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme will support lending to small and medium enterprises, which includes farmers and fishers, for terms ranging from three months to six years, which will be below market interest rates.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed TD, said:”I welcome the announcement of the expanded Credit Guarantee Scheme. I have worked with my colleagues to ensure that our primary producers (farmers and fishers) would be included in the new Scheme and I am now happy to confirm that they will. Cashflow and liquidity is a key issue right along the food chain and this Scheme will give confidence to all businesses that assistance will be available when required.”

See here for details of the further measures announced.


UPDATE 30th April - Planning Permission for TAMS applicants in current tranche.

As there may be some delays being experienced in securing full planning permission or a letter of exemption (PP) for TAMS applications from the relevant Local Authority. As it stands TAMS requirements must be met in full before approval can issue.

However, in the current circumstances DAFM have informed IFA that they are prepared to accept applications without PP before the closing date of the next tranche once a copy of the PP is submitted before close of business on 10 July 2020.

Farmers are advised to upload a cover note for the planning documentation to temporarily bypass the DAFM check. This page should state “Due to COVID 19 restrictions planning permission to follow”.

Full details and terms and terms and conditions available here.


UPDATE 21st April - Farmers Who Had Planned to Attend BPS Clinics Should Ring Dept. Helpline

IFA Deputy President Brian Rushe said farmers who had planned to attend the Department of Agriculture clinics on BPS applications should make direct contact with the Department instead.

The BPS helpline number is 076 1064420.

The Dept has confirmed to IFA that it will direct farmers to the best course of action to complete their application. IFA is insisting that all applications are accepted this year given the difficulties posed by the restrictions. So far, almost 66,500 farmers have applied, which is 5,000 higher than this time last year.

Brian Rushe said farmers have until May 15th, which is three weeks from Friday, to make their applications. He encouraged all farmers to make them before that date.


UPDATE 17th April 2020 - Necessary Farm Construction Work

It has been clarified that the deliveries of concrete for essential minor works on farms (such as the pouring of concrete for silage pits) is permitted, as this is part of the essential business of farming at this time of year. In accordance with the Public Health advice, premises must not be open to the public and these services should be provided for essential works only.

In all cases, plans should be in place for all essential workers to carry out their work while observing 2 metre physical distancing and all other relevant HSE advice.

See the Department of Agriculture’s FAQs including in relation to construction projects.


UPDATE 16th April 2020 - GLAS Balancing Payments

IFA Rural Development Chairman Ml Biggins has welcomed the pay-out of the balancing 15% GLAS payment worth €26m to 42,300 farmers which commenced on April 15th

This is 3 weeks earlier than normal and will be a boost at this critical time for farmers who are under severe income pressure as a result of COVID 19 restrictions. IFA wants the remaining 5,500 farmers paid without delay.


UPDATE 15th April 2020 - Wage Subsidy Scheme

The wage subsidy scheme will increase from 70% to 85% for employees with incomes less than approximately €24,400 per year.

This afternoon Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe has said for incomes that are less than approximately €24,400 per year, the State will increase the subsidy available to employers from 70% to 85%.

For those employees with previous average net pay between €412 and €500 per week (equivalent to €24,400-€31,000), the subsidy will be up to €350 per week.

There are no changes for those whose previous average net pay was between €500 and €586 per week. They will continue to receive a subsidy of up to 70% of previous net income, up to a maximum of €410 per week.


UPDATE 9th April 2020 - An Post Easter Weekend COVID-19 Schedule

As many customers continue to ‘cocoon’, An Post is putting some special measures in place over the Easter weekend. There’s a change to Post Office opening times this Easter weekend.

  • Firstly there’s a change to Post Offices opening times: Post Offices will be open for all services until 1pm this Friday (Good Friday). Offices will be closed on Easter Saturday so as to give our hard-working frontline post office staff and postmasters a break over the bank holiday weekend. All Post Offices will reopen for business on Tuesday 14th April.
  • As many older customers remain cocooned all welfare payments, including pensions, will be held at the post office for 90 days to enable customers to plan post office visits or to put Temporary Agent arrangements in place.
  • The option available to customers impacted by Covid-19 to nominate a ‘Temporary Agent’ to act on their behalf is proving very popular. Customers may apply by completing, in advance, a form available at post offices and online at anpost.com/tempagent.
  • Post Offices remain open for cash banking services for AIB and Ulster customers, stamps, parcel services and One4all giftcards, Western Union money transmission and other banking services.

Further information about all An Post services available here.


UPDATE 7th April 2020 - IFA and FBD have launched COVID-19 fund to support farmers.

Supporting farmers and ensuring that the agri industry remains open is a main priority for FBD and IFA during this unprecedented pandemic as we enter what is one of busiest periods in the farming calendar.

What is the benefit?
If a farmer is unable to carry out farm work due to COVID-19, a €500 Farm Relief Service voucher will be provided to assist in keeping farms operational during this busy period.

What criteria must a farmer meet in order claim this benefit?

  • Farmer must be medically certified with COVID-19 and unable to work.
  • Farmer must be a current FBD Farm Policy holder.
  • Farmer must obtain the services of FRS to complete farm duties for minimum duration of one week.
  • FBD will remit the payment of the voucher directly to FRS.
  • Only one voucher is available per farm business.
  • Application approved by FBD/ IFA in advance of service.

How does a farmer apply for this benefit?
Apply to FBD by phone on 01 7617 617
Email FBD at farmersupport@fbd.ie
Contact your local FBD office


UPDATE 7th April 2020 - Teagasc announces new telephone helpline for farmers

Teagasc have put in place a dedicated helpline for farmers to get advice on the range of issues that they may face as they continue to do their essential work in maintaining the food supply chain. This helpline is open to all farmers for a range of farming issues they face on a day to day.

The information line phone number is +353 76 1113533 and will be open from 9.30am to 12.30pm and from 2pm to 5pm Monday to Friday.

Full details here.


UPDATE 3rd April 2020 - Necessary Farm Construction Work

Under the current restrictions construction work is stopped.

However, emergency works can be carried out on for example animal welfare grounds.

Following a number of enquiries, it has been clarified that the deliveries of concrete for essential minor works on farms (such as the pouring of concrete for silage pits) is permitted, as this is part of the essential business of farming at this time of year. In accordance with the Public Health advice, premises must not be open to the public and these services should be provided for essential works only.

In all cases, plans should be in place for all essential workers to carry out their work while observing 2 metre physical distancing and all other relevant HSE advice.

If you believe construction work you are carrying out falls into this category (for example silage slabs needed for this season) you should consult your farm advisor (Teagasc, private planner, Co-op, veterinary surgeon) to construct a letter to provide to your construction company stating this.
See the Department of Agriculture’s FAQs including in relation to construction projects.

It is then advised to contact the local Gardai and advise them of the what you are doing.

Contact IFA’s Barry Carey for more details.

Email: barrycarey@theftstop.ie
Phone: 01 426 0371


UPDATE 3rd April 2020 - Clarifications from the Dept. of Social Welfare on Farmer Qualification Under the Pandemic Unemployment Payment

IFA have received further clarification on farmer qualification regarding farmer qualification for the Pandemic Unemployment Payment.

Full details here.


UPDATE 2nd April 2020 - Teagasc to Establish Regional Farm Labour Database

Teagasc is setting up a Regional Farm Labour Database that would link farm families with an available relief worker, where a farmer or a farm worker becomes ill with COVID-19.

This initiative by Teagasc, FRS, IFA and others, will support farmers and their families during the current COVID-19 outbreak.

In the event of a farmer (main farm operator) becoming ill and/or testing positive for COVID-19, they may require hospitalisation and isolation during their period of recovery. For many families in this situation, the main farm operator will not be able to carry out routine farm operations.

IFA Deputy President Brian Rushe said this initiative by Teagasc is important to keep farms going through what is a difficult time. He said: “We have encouraged farmers to complete their Plan B form on our COVID-19 information hub, which would allow somebody filling in to get working straight away. In the event of a farmer having to self-isolate, anybody taking over has to have the full picture of how the farm works and what has to be done to complete day-to-day tasks.”

Complete your Plan B form here.

Full release from Teagasc here.


UPDATE 2nd April 2020 - Government has announced a new initiative called 'The Community Call' to marshal volunteers, including IFA, across the country

“The Community Call” brings together state and voluntary resources to combat the effects of Covid19.
It will coordinate community supports, get assistance to where it is needed and harness the volunteering energy of the country.

Each local authority has a dedicated helpline and IFA is part of the official community support network in each local authority.

Helpline details available here.


UPDATE 1st April 2020 - Minster Creed Creed announces flexibilities on DAFM schemes in response to Covid-19 issues

The list of flexibilities include:

  • Inspections: The Department has generally paused routine on-farm visits for two weeks. However, some essential inspections may be necessary on a risk basis.
  • Young Farmer Scheme: Inspection interviews to be conducted by phone. This also applies to Young Farmer inspections under TAMS.
    Young Farmer/National Reserve applications: Revised arrangements in place for lodging an application where applicant’s green cert is held up due to closure of colleges.
  • Basic Payment Entitlements: Revised arrangements in place for submitting applications for transferring entitlements where it requires witnessed signatures.
  • Nitrates: Deadline for submitting nitrates records for cross-compliance inspected cases extended to end June.

TAMS:
The list of flexibilities include:

  • The closing date for Tranche 17 of TAMs has been deferred from 24 April to 5 June;
  • Flexibility on TAMS completion deadlines – a 3 month extension on all projects due to completed (or approvals due to expire) between 1 March and 1 July;
  • A 3 month extension on outstanding TAMs payment claims for projects to be completed by 1 July;
  • Health & Safety course requirement for TAMS – As these courses are now postponed, a derogation is now in place which defers the obligation to do the course but allows the applicant to be paid for completed works. This derogation is proposed for a 3 month period. These participants will be required to complete a course when courses resume.

GLAS:
Normally 10 day deadlines for GLAS records following inspection – flexibility has already been given here with the DAFM document request latter amended to reflect this.

The Minister also drew attention to the additional flexibilities he has introduced with regard to TB testing arrangements where his Department continues to seek to facilitate farmers in continuing efforts to eradicate TB and undertake testing as required, while also facilitating the continuation of animal movements and the continuity of all elements of the food supply

Full DAFM press release here.


UPDATE 1st April 2020 - Minster Creed announces new COVID-19 telephone helpline for farmers

The Minster for Agriculture, Food and the Marine has confirmed the opening of a new telephone helpline to assist farmers with their queries in relation to current COVID-19 restrictions in place. This is a dedicated helpline for farmers to seek advice on the practical queries that they may have as they continue to fulfil their essential role in maintaining the food supply chain.

The information line phone number is 076 1064468 and will be open from 9.30am to 12.30pm and from 2pm to 5pm Monday to Friday.

In addition,the Department has also published a set of Frequently Asked Questions on the Coronavirus/ COVID 19 section of the Department’s website available here.


UPDATE 1st April 2020 - An Update from our Brussels Office

Read the update from the IFA Brussels office about IFA activity in Europe along with COVID-19 updates about the European Commission, the MFF and much more.

Read the IFA Brussels update here.


UPDATE 1st April 2020 – New Department Protocols for TB Testing During COVID-19

IFA has secured an extension from 42 to 120 days of age for calves exempt from testing. These calves can be traded internally up to this age without a test requirement.

Farmers who have to delay tests for COVID will also be given a period of 28 days after the test due date where they can trade before the status of the herd is suspended.

The new protocol published by the DAFM is available here.


UPDATE 31st March 2020 – Marts Permitted to Facilitate Trade Between Farms

The Minister for Agriculture has confirmed that marts will be allowed to facilitate sales subject to strict procedures to be agreed with the Department.

He has also allocated additional money for the calf investment scheme (€1.5m increased to €4m) to cover all eligible applications.

There will be no scheduled inspections for the next two weeks.

IFA press release available here.


UPDATE 29th March 2020 - Latest Government Guidelines for Essential Services Identification

It is advised that farmers carry a form of ID with them at all times during the COVID-19 restrictions. A drivers licence and/or your IFA membership card will suffice.

If you have employees the advice is to provide them with a letter. We have developed a template which you can download from here. This template has two pages with the same wording, the first page can be edited directly, the second page can be printed off and filled in by hand.


UPDATE 28th March 2020 – Latest Government Guidelines for Essential Services

Agriculture and fishing are deemed essential services and are exempt from the current directive to stay at home until April 12th. 

This includes farmers, farm labourers, farm relief service workers, and others involved directly of indirectly in crop and animal production and related activities (including veterinary services), and workers involved in fishing.

If you are a farmer or an agricultural worker you should carry one form of identification with you at all times such as a drivers licence or your IFA membership card. Read the full details here.

Message from IFA President, Tim Cullinan

The challenges posed by Covid-19 require a collective effort.

From speaking to many members, I know there is a particular concern about keeping farms operational in the event of illness.

IFA has over 940 branches around the country and it’s important that farmers look out for other farmers in their parish. I would ask you to be conscious of older neighbours and those with underlying medical conditions.

If you need help, I want to assure you that you that as an IFA member you are not alone, even if you are observing social isolation protocols.

While IFA has suspended all meetings at branch, county and national level we remain operational and our staff are available to assist you. Contact details are available here.

IFA is a member of the Government stakeholder forum on COVID-19 and we will share relevant information on this page with members as we receive it.

The agricultural community will play its part, as it always has, with others to keep the supply chain operating and food on people’s tables. Working together, we will all come though this very challenging time.

IFA COVID-19 Supports

IFA Submission to Oireachtas Special Committee on COVID-19 Response

‘Re-opening the Economy – the State’s Response and Support for Businesses’

Have You a Plan B?

For any farmer who is unable to farm, it’s important that someone can step in to assist. We have put together a ‘Plan B’ document to help with this.

IFA COVID-19 Contacts

We are here for you. IFA remains operational and our staff are available to assist you.

IFA Submission on COVID-19 Supports

IFA has put a detailed set of proposals to the Government and the EU Commission in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Essential Services


IFA Employment Law Contact
For issues relating to:
  • COVID-19 employment law issues
  • Work permits
IFA Contact: Niamh Brennan
Phone: 01 4260347
Email: niamhbrennan@ifa.ie

Frequently asked questions regarding essential workers/services

On the 28th March 2020 the Government issued the latest guidelines for ‘Essential Services’.

Full guidelines available here.

Are farmers/farm workers classified as essential workers in the current pandemic?

Agriculture and fishing are deemed essential services and are exempt from the current directive to stay at home until April 12th.

This includes farmers, farm labourers, farm relief service workers and others involved directly or indirectly in crop and animal production and related activities (including veterinary services), and workers involved in fishing.

Read the full details here.

What identification should I carry to prove I am an essential worker?

If you are a farmer or an agricultural worker you should carry one form of identification with you at all times such as a driver’s licence or your IFA membership card.

Read the full details here.

What form of documentation must I provide for my farm workers/employees to travel to work?

If you have farm workers/ employees the advice is to provide them with a letter. We have developed a template letter which you can download here.

This template has two pages with the same word formatting, the first page can be edited directly, the second page can be printed off and filled in by hand.

Lab testing

Lab testing for soil and animal health and welfare is deemed an essential service.

However some private labs, particularly those involved in COVID-19 testing may have capacity issues.
Labs are as a result prioritising testing services.

Before submitting samples, other than for BVD testing which is continuing as normal, farmers should contact their lab.

Health and Safety


IFA Health and Safety Contact
For issues relating to:
  • COVID-19 precautions
  • Farmer guidelines
IFA Contact: William Shortall
Phone: 01 4260370
Email: williamshortall@ifa.ie

It is very important that you look after yourself and those around by adhering to the HSE advise relating to COVID-19/ coronavirus.

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

It can take up to 14 days for symptoms of coronavirus to appear. Look out for one, some or all of the main symptoms:

  • a cough – this can be any kind of cough, not just dry
  • shortness of breath
  • breathing difficulties
  • fever (high temperature – 38 degrees Celsius or above) or chills
  • other symptoms are fatigue, headaches, sore throat, aches and pains

Who are the at-risk groups?

  • People who are over 60 years of age and you are particularly vulnerable if you are over 75 years of age
  • Have a long-term medical condition – for example, heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, cancer or high blood pressure
  • Have a weak immune system (immunosuppressed)

How can I protect myself and others from coronavirus?

  • Coronavirus is spread in a sneeze or cough droplets. To infect you, it has to get from an infected person’s nose or mouth into your eyes, nose or mouth. This can be direct or indirect (on hands, objects, surfaces etc.)
  • Physical distancing is important to help slow the spread of coronavirus. It does this by minimising contact between potentially infected individuals and healthy individuals.

Should I allow visitors onto my farm?

  • Only essential visitors/delivery drivers/vets/contractors should be allowed onto your farm at this time.
  • If you have to interact with these visitors, practices social distancing, keep a space of 2 metres (6.5 feet) between you and the visitor/s.
  • Do not shake hands or make close contact, if possible
  • Check with your local processor/feed merchant to adhere to any specific protocols
  • Ensure that milk collection, delivery drivers have easy access to bulk tanks and feed bins

If I have to self-isolate what should I do?

  • Complete IFA’s Covid-19 Plan B form
  • Self-isolation means staying indoors and completely avoiding contact with other people.
  • You need to do this if you have symptoms of coronavirus.

Department of Agriculture FAQs regarding Covid-19 for animal owners

Can animals spread the COVID-19 virus to humans?

There is currently no evidence that animals can spread COVID-19 either to humans or to other animals.

The exact origin of the outbreak of COVID-19 virus in the city of Wuhan in China in December 2019 is still unknown. Although scientific analysis of the viral molecule indicates that initial transmission to humans may have come from a wild animal source such as bats, the exact pathway has not be identified and there is currently no evidence subsequent to that of any spread of the virus from animals to humans.

Can the virus that causes COVID-19 be transmitted to humans through food?

There is no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 can be spread through the consumption of food according to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

There are no cases of COVID-19 to date that have shown that they were infected through the consumption of contaminated food. In previous human coronavirus epidemics, food was not found to be a source of infection. However, surface contamination of food with the virus through sneezing or coughing for example is possible. It is important to observe good hygienic precautions when preparing food.

What if my animal requires veterinary attention and there is no case of COVID-19 in my household?

Veterinary practices are essential services to safeguard animal health and welfare and they and their staff need to be protected from possible exposure to COVID-19. Arrangements for the care of your animal should be made in consultation with your veterinary practitioner.

No person should turn up at a veterinary practice unannounced – this is in line with government advice to protect human health. Telephone the veterinary practice to make the appropriate arrangements in advance. Observe both the HSE guidelines and biosecurity protocols which the veterinary practice may have put in place for the protection of human health.

The Department’s full FAQs regarding Covid-19 for animal owners is available here.

European Commission's COVID-19 and farmed and domestic animals questions and answers

The European Commission Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety has published a ‘questions and answers’ document relating to COVID-19 and farmed and domestic animals.

The full document is available here.

'Farming Resilience' service

Mental Health Ireland, IFA and Teagasc have partnered to co-host and co-deliver information and resources for farmers during the month of April. The aim is to support farmers and their families through the challenges being posed by COVID-19. The service will look at some practical evidence-based ways to support personal and business resilience.

See the ‘Farming Resilience’ webpage here, for more details.

Simple steps to security for farm and home

During this period with many restrictions in place, securing your property and equipment does not have to be a complicated process. With younger family members out of college and school an ideal opportunity exists for some ‘’ security housekeeping’ to be done.

Simple steps can offer the best protection for your home and equipment.

Click here for some simple yes/no questions to start the process.

Gardai crime prevention advice during COVID-19

The Gardai have provided some home prevention advice in a handy booklet which you can download here.

Advice includes:

  • KEEP UNEXPECTED CALLERS OUT – Do not open the door. Use the door chain. Look for ID.
  • Use only the services of people you know and trust.
  • If you require assistance call your local garda station.
  • Keep a lookout for friends and neighbours while adhering to appropriate physical distancing.

Information notice to FCI members for your drivers

In view of the current situation and the Government/HSE guidelines regarding the fight against the Coronavirus, FCI is suggesting suggest some practical measures for all contractors and their teams to consider, with immediate effect.

At this time remember that the health of your teammates/machine operators and our costumers has to be your priority. Please give your team a clear set of instructions and if possible stick a copy of the short message (at the end of this notice) in a prominent place in the tractor cab.

Also, we ask that you to inform your teams about the following points:

  • Disinfect the interior tractor cab at the start and at the end of each day with a disinfectant spray
  • Disinfect the tractor cab door handles at the start and at the end of each day with a disinfectant spray
  • Adhere to social distancing and do not allow others into the tractor cabin with you
  • Children are off from school. They will like a diversion from the boredom of being around the house.  Do NOT allow them into the tractor cab with you
  • Bring enough food and drinks with you for a day’s work, and take two food breaks
  • Provide a box of disposable plastic gloves in each tractor cab for your operators and replace each week
  • Use disposable plastic gloves to open and close farm gates where possible
  • Wear overalls and change them for a fresh set each day or use disposable overalls and dispose each day
  • No hand contact, no shaking hands, it is possible to give the instructions over the phone
  • Maintain two metre safety distance
  • Cough into your elbow
  • If you have symptoms, call HSE Live at 1850 24 1850

Please follow the HSE Guidelines at all times in your daily activities. We want to thank our machine drivers for their understanding and trust, we must all work together to protect ourselves, our teams, our customers and our business and the business of Irish farming.

Renewal of drivers’ licences during COVID-19

The National Driver Licence Service (NDLS) is suspended until further notice with immediate effect. In order to comply with the new public restrictions, announced by Government on Friday 27th of March, to tackle the spread of the Coronavirus.

Suspension of requirement for people aged 70 or over (except those with an identified or specified illness) to provide medical report when applying for a driving licence or learner permit.

In light of the need to facilitate social distancing and the expected additional burdens on medical services from Covid-19, the requirement for those age 70 and over (under certain circumstance) to provide a medical report shall be removed at this time. This means persons aged 70 years of age or over can apply for, and renew, their driving licence or learner permit until the 31 July 2020 without the need to submit a medical report providing they do not have an identified or specified illness.

Banking, Finance and Revenue


IFA Banking and Taxation Contact
For issues relating to:
  • COVID-19 credit issues
  • Bank problems
  • Legal issues
  • Revenue Commissioners
IFA Contact: Fintan Conway
Phone: 01 4260341
Email: fintanconway@ifa.ie

IFA Farm Business Committee Information Note on Existing and Proposed Government Backed COVID & non-COVID Support Loan Schemes

There are a number of Government backed COVID Loan schemes both in the pipeline and operational. The introduction of the new €2billion COVID Credit Guarantee Scheme (CCGS) will depend on the drafting of legislation by the new Government which then must be passed by the Dáil.

Schemes in the Pipeline

1.     COVID Credit Guarantee Scheme:

  • Budget of €2bn
  • Opening date yet to be announced
  • First come first served basis
  • Eligibility to include farmers across all the sectors (agriculture, horticulture and aquaculture)
  • Can be used for overdraft and working capital (term up to 6 years) arising from the impact of Covid 19
  • Loan amounts ranging from €10k to €1 million
  • Depending on evolving circumstances overdraft facilities can be termed out
  • Application made through the main banks
  • Interest rates will be below the prevailing market rates. However, the price of the loan will reflect the cost of the State guarantee

2.     Future Growth Loan Scheme:

  • Budget of €200m of which 40% allocated to farmers
  • Opening date not announced yet
  • Scheme details while not available are expected to be similar to previous scheme

Operational Schemes

1. MilkFlex Scheme:

  • Dairy farmers can avail of low-cost finance through the MilkFlex scheme
  • Loans are originated with Finance Ireland and backed by finance provided by Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) and Rabobank
  • Is facilitated through participating Co-ops.
  • It provides milk suppliers with a funding product that helps protect cashflows from the impact of milk price volatility.
  • It features in-built ‘flex triggers’ that can adjust the repayment terms in response to movements in milk price and disease outbreak.
  • Repayments will also be adjusted to allow for seasonality.
  • Investment in: on-farm productive assets to support an existing or growing dairy farm enterprise (including dairy livestock, milking platform infrastructure and land improvement); on-farm energy efficiency and renewable energy; environmental investments and agricultural technologies that deliver on-farm efficiencies.
  • For more info: https://www.financeireland.ie/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/MilkFlex-update-2018-v07-online.pdf

2. SME Finance and Leasing

  • SCBI has allocated €17m to SME Finance and Leasing
  • This has introduced much needed competition into the asset finance market
  • Funds can be used to finance 2nd hand machinery and equipment.
  • Average loans of €15,000 up to the value of €70,000.
  • For more info: https://smeleasing.ie/

3.  Microfinance Ireland COVID 19 Business Loan

  • Budget €17m
  • Farmers and agricultural contractors are eligible to apply for Microfinance Ireland COVID 19 Business Loans
  • Eligibility criteria including:
    • those not in a position to lend from banks and other commercial lending providers
    • 15% of actual or projected turnover or profit is negatively impacted by COVID 19
  • The loans can be used for working capital and business changes arising out COVID 19
  • Loan values ranging from €5,000 to €50,000
  • Loan term typically 3 years but can extend to 5
  • Repayment breaks – 0% interest and zero repayments for the first 6 months
  • Repayment structure – fixed repayments
  • No penalty applies for early repayments
  • interest rate – APR is 5.5%. However, if you apply through Microfinance Ireland application partners a lower rate of 4.5% APR applies.
  • Microfinance Ireland partners include Local Development Companies – also known as Local Area Partnerships or LEADER Partnerships
  • For more info: https://microfinanceireland.ie/loan-packages/covid19/

COVID-19 Loan Schemes and Banking Supports Available to Farmers

A number of schemes and support measures have been introduced to help farmers deal with the severe market disruption due to the impacts of the COVID-19.

Microfinance Ireland (MFI) Business Loan Package - operational

  • MFI’s COVID 19 Business Loans scheme is available to farmers and agricultural contractors.
  • Government increased MFI’s budget from €13m to €20m (8 April 2020).
  • The following eligibility criteria apply:
    • Any business, including farming and agricultural contracting (Sole Trader, Partnership or Limited Company) with less than 10 full time employees and an annual turnover of up to €2m.
    • Not in a position to borrow from banks and other commercial lending providers.
    • 15% of actual or projected turnover or profit is negatively impacted by COVID-19.
  • The loans can be used for working capital and business changes arising from COVID-19.
  • Loan values range from €5,000 to €50,000.
  • The loan term is variable, typically 3 years but can extend to 5.
  • The following repayment breaks apply – 0% interest and zero repayments for the first 6 months.
  • Fixed repayments.
  • Interest rate – the APR is 5.5%. However, if you apply through Microfinance Ireland application partners i.e. Local Area Partnerships or LEADER Partnerships a lower rate of 4.5% APR applies.

Bank supports - operational

  • The main banks, on request, are providing increased working capital and overdrafts in addition to payment flexibility on loan facilities including: repayment breaks on interest and or capital for an initial period of up to 3 months.
  • Breaks are also available on hire purchase and lease repayments.
  • Farmers who are not in a position to secure or were refused loan facilities from their bank are entitled to apply to Microfinance Ireland for a loan.

NB. Do not simply stop direct debits for loan repayments or exceed your overdraft limit without talking to the bank first as this could affect your credit history. In worst case scenario your loan can be classified as non-performing.

SBCI Future Growth Loan Scheme (FGLS) - planned

  • SBCI has announced the allocation of €200m to the new FGLS fund. The first tranche is for €60m.
  • The new scheme is expected to mirror the previous FGLS scheme, which focused on development, growth and improvement of farm businesses, but did not include working capital.
  • The last scheme was operated through the 4 main banks i.e. AIB, BOI, Ulster Bank and KBC. For more details click on this link.
  • Further details regarding the new scheme’s operation will be available this coming Tuesday (14 April 2020).

Please note that those engaging in primary agriculture and aquaculture i.e. farmers, are excluded from participating in SBCI’s COVID-19 working capital loan scheme.

Banks

It is very important to contact your bank as soon as possible if you are being impacted or think your income is going to be impacted by COVID-19.  They will be able to support and talk to you about how to mitigate your situation.  The below applies to the 3 main banks – AIB, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank:

Are banks being flexible with loan repayments?

The three main banks have differing supports, but currently they are offering a 3 month payment break, which must be applied for.

Can I access credit?

Emergency working capital is being made available by the banks, they are trying to process applications as quickly as possible.  Applying online is the fastest method.

What about overdrafts?

If you do not have an overdraft facility, but need one, or if you think you will need an extension to your existing one, you must ring your bank. Currently it is better to look for a loan as the rates are high on overdrafts.

How can you get help with your mortgage?

Contact your bank, the offers range from applying for complete breaks for a period of time or an interest only arrangement. Conditions will apply.

What happens if I need more than a 3 month break?

This is an unprecedented situation, it is important to keep in touch with your bank. As the impact of Covid-19 develops, Government and banking supports are likely to change.

What other government supports are there?

Business Continuity Voucher

The new Business Continuity Voucher, available through Local Enterprise Offices, is designed for businesses across every sector that employ up to 50 people. The voucher is worth up to €2,500 in third party consultancy costs and can be used by companies and sole traders to develop short-term and long-term strategies to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

More details available here.

Credit Guarantee Scheme

There is a Credit Guarantee Scheme and dedicated page for further supports.

Who do I contact in the banks?

Bank of Ireland:

BUISINESS customers who are concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on their business are encouraged to make contact with their Business Relationship Manager or ring 0818 200 348. If a repayment break required and no assigned Business Relationship Manager, fill out the form here.

Bank of Ireland Finance payment breaks please contact 1850 812 080 and choose option 3

PERSONAL – Personal loan payment breaks or flexible arrangements call 1850 222 200 or 01 488 2019 (lines open 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday).


AIB

AIB have provided us with a list of its agri team contacts which is available here.

BUSINESS For payment break – dedicated business COVID-19 support line 0818 300113; open Mon – Fri 9am- 5pm or by filling out this request form

Specific Farmer Credit line (always available, not just for Covid-19) 1890 47 88 33 Mon – Fri 8am – 9pm, Say 9am – 6pm

PERSONAL Tel. 1890 724 724  Mon – Fri 8am – 9pm, Sat 9am – 6pm


ULSTER

BUSINESS Team of Relationship Managers to offer help and support to form plans to mitigate the impact of Covid-19.  Tel: 1850 211 690

PERSONAL Payment holidays on loan deferral for up to 3 months (tel. 1850 201 210)

Beware

Fraudsters are exploiting the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus to facilitate various types of fraud and cybercrime. To protect yourself from these threats please continue to be vigilant with phishing emails received or emails with attachments that may contain malware

Revenue Advice to Farmers and SMEs

Have Revenue put measures in place to assist farmers/ SMEs experiencing cash flow and/or trading difficulties due to the impact of the COVID-19 virus?

Revenue understand that COVID-19 will create cashflow difficulties and trading difficulties for many businesses that will impact on the timely payment of tax. They are committed to engaging with viable businesses that are experiencing these problems.

In 2019 the assisted almost 6,400 individual businesses with phased payments.

Should I file tax returns?

If your farm/ SME is experiencing or expects to experience cashflow and/or trading difficulties due to the impacts of the COVID-19 virus you should continue to file tax returns even where payment is not possible.

If key personnel/ tax advisor are not available to compute my tax returns what should I do?

The farm/ SME must submit the return on a “best estimate” basis.

How do I contact revenue?

Farmers/ SMEs and their agents will continue to have full online access to their myAccount and/or ROS accounts.

Enquiries and correspondences can be sent through MyEnquiries, Revenue’s secure online service which is available on both myAccountand/or ROS.

Farm Schemes


IFA Farm Schemes Contact
For issues relating to:
  • COVID-19 farm inspections
  • BPS applications
  • Farmer’s rights
  • GLAS
  • TAMS
  • Farm assist
  • RSS
  • CAP
  • Agricultural education
IFA Contact: Gerry Gunning
Phone: 01 4260346
Email: gerrygunning@ifa.ie

With the curtailment of the Coronavirus pandemic on everyone’s mind, it was never more important that Farm Schemes continue to operate and there is no hold up in payments when they are due.  IFA is very conscious that when this pandemic ends, Farm Schemes are protected going forward.

Farm Schemes are worth up to €1.8bn to farmers and given the critical position on farm incomes and the general economy, maximum drawdown and payment across all scheme is vital.

CAP Budget

It was expected that the EU Budget would be discussed again at a Heads of State meetings but due to global pandemic discussions are taking place in the context of a recovery package for Europe.

CAP Transition

The new CAP 2020 will not be agreed before year end. As a result, Transition arrangements have to be put in place to ensure a continuity of measures beyond 2020. The EU Commission has proposed a one-year extension but it is generally believed that a two -year extension may be needed, meaning the new CAP may not apply until the 1st January 2023.

Of critical importance to farmers will be the continuation of multi annual Farm Schemes such as GLAS, BDGP, Sheep welfare and KT. IFA has been informed by the EU Commission in Brussels that the farmers in GLAS can get their contracts extended by either 1 or 2 years by continuing to carry out measures on their plan. 36,000 farmers finish their GLAS contracts in December next, with a further 12,000 finishing in Dec 2021. It is up the Minister to put in place the procedures for an extension of GLAS once the transition arrangements are put in place. The same applies to the 22,700 farmers in BDGP and the 18,500 farmers in Sheep welfare.

2019 GLAS Payments

Following IFA pressure the final 15% of GLAS payments has commenced as of 16th April. Initially over 42,000 farmers will get payments €26 million. IFA is calling for ALL farmers to receive their payment without further delay.

As of the week ending 15th May, 45,189 farmers have received their full GLAS payment. A further 2,000 are still due their final 15%.

The total amount paid out for the 2019 GLAS scheme is €200 million.

2020 Basic Payment Scheme applications

At the closing date for the BPS on the 15th May, around 129,000 farmers have made their application.

Farmers have until 31st May to make amendments. In early June the Department will commence the pre-checking of all applications and where there are discrepancies the farmers will be notified to make adjustments before the end of the 3rd week of June 2020.

The 2020 National Reserve and the Young Farmer top-up scheme are also open.

IFA had secured concessions for young farmers who had expected to have finished their Green cert courses by mid-May. Flexible arrangements were put in place where transfer of entitlements documents cannot be signed. Any farmer who has any issue should contact the IFA.

Inspections

Farm inspections have recommenced from Monday, 18th May. If a farmer has a problem with an inspection due to COVID-19 issues, they should seek a postponement. The main checks that will take place over the next number of months will be related to land eligibility.

National Reserve and Young Farmer Scheme

The 2020 National Reserve and the Young Farmer have now closed. IFA had called for flexibility, due to the COVID19 outbreak for young farmers who had expected to have finished their Green cert courses by mid -May. Teagasc and other bodies carrying out courses should be in contact with students on their course to appraise them of the situation.

TAMS

Planning Permission for TAMS applicants in current tranche

As there may be some delays being experienced in securing full planning permission or a letter of exemption (PP) for TAMS applications from the relevant Local Authority. As it stands TAMS requirements must be met in full before approval can issue.

However, in the current circumstances DAFM have informed IFA that they are prepared to accept applications without PP before the closing date of the next tranche once a copy of the PP is submitted before close of business on 10 July 2020.

The next Tranche closes on 5th June and an application would only be accepted if it had the PP attached;

However in the current situation

  • Where an applicant doesn’t have PP, DAFM will accept the application on the condition that when they get full PP it has to be submitted;
  • Full PP must be submitted by 10 July 2020;
  • If full PP is submitted by then, the application will be considered for approval;
  • If PP is not provided the application/or relevant investments will be rejected.  It will be open to applicants to apply under a future tranche.

Farmers are advised to upload a cover note for the planning documentation to temporarily bypass the DAFM check. This page should state Due to COVID 19 restrictions planning permission to follow”.

When DAFM staff are checking the application, the online system will be opened for the submission of the full PP before 10 July 2020. If not received by that date, the online system application will then be closed.


Approvals to around 2,600 farmers who applied in Tranche 16 which closed on Jan 10th have been processed and approvals have been issued to commence work. However, there is a 20% carryover into Tranche 17 which closes on June 6th (was Apr 24th).

The period of time to complete work has been extended by 3 months on approvals due to expire between the 1st March and 1stJuly. Also payment claims have now got an additional 3 months for projects that were due to be completed by 1st July.

Payments are continuing to be made at a rate of €1.5m per week. IFA is urging that all payment claims are made once work has been completed.  Due to restrictions on the construction sector due to COVID-19 a lot of work had ceased on farms.

ANC

For the 2020 scheme farmers should have ticked the box on their BPS application to apply for the ANC scheme. Farmers who whose areas are being taken out of ANC as part of the 2018 review should also have ticked the box as they will get part-payment in 2020.

72 townlands were successful in the recent ANC appeals. 23 of these townlands are coming into the scheme for the first time. It is important that farmers from these townlands ticked the box.

Payments will commence on the 3rd week of September and IFA is calling for full payment to 99,000 farmers worth €248m.

Sheep Welfare

The Sheep Welfare Scheme is worth €10 per ewe.

The balancing 15% payment of the 2019 Sheep Welfare Scheme was paid in May to c18,500 farmers and worth €1.82m.

The 2020 payments are due to commence in November next.

BEAM

The BEAM scheme was worth €100 per finished animal and €40 per suckler cow.

With €77.18m paid out to 33,271 farmers to date. IFA is calling for the full €100m allocated, to be spent as well as an additional €100m required for market disturbance due to Brexit.

BEEP-S 2020

The new 2020 BEEP Scheme is worth €90 per suckler cow on the first 10 cows and €80 per cow on the remainder up to 100 cows. 27,000 farmers applied on about c600,000 cows by the May 15th closing date. Additional funding will be required for the scheme to avoid a linear cut to payments.

BEEP 2019

Total of €15.4m paid to 16,529 suckler farmers in 2019/2020 at the rate of €40 per cow for weighing cows and calves.

BDGP

The BDGP scheme is worth €95 per suckler cow on the first 10 cows and €85 per cow on the remainder.

22,700 farmers are in this scheme which is worth €40.2m. Payments are due to commence next November with a full payment. IFA is lobbying for additional funding for a new scheme, extended beyond 2020 and simplified.

IFA is campaigning for suckler supports of €300 per cow through a combination of CAP and National funding.

Farm Assist

IFA has got confirmation from the Department of Social Protection that there will be no on-farm assessments for farmers applying for Farm Assist for the foreseeable future. Assessments will be done in Dept. offices. Also the same will apply for Appeals. Currently there are 6,000 farmers on Farm assist.

The 3,200 farmers on the Rural Social Scheme will continue to have their contracts honoured. Some project may have ceased for the moment due to safety concerns.

See IFA’s Farm Assist Calculator to find out if you qualify and what level of payment you could expect.

Inspections and Testing


IFA Farm Schemes Contact
For issues relating to:
  • COVID-19 farm inspections (Gerry Gunning)
  • COVID-19: TB testing (Tomas Bourke)
IFA Contact: Gerry Gunning

Tomas Bourke

Phone: Gerry Gunning: 01 4260346

Tomas Bourke: 01 4260364

Email: Gerry Gunning: gerrygunning@ifa.ie

Tomas Bourke: tomasbourke@ifa.ie

The Department of Agriculture has stated that it has generally paused routine on-farm visits for two weeks. However, some essential inspections may be necessary on a risk basis and some inspection related work will be carried out over the phone. The situation will be kept under review. For example, it may become necessary to resume more routine inspections where the conduct of inspections is necessary to avoid delays in payments.

Full details available here.

New Department protocols for TB testing during COVID-19

IFA has secured an extension from 42 to 120 days of age for calves exempt from testing. These calves can be traded internally up to this age without a test requirement.

Farmers who have to delay tests for COVID will also be given a period of 28 days after the test due date where they can trade before the status of the herd is suspended.

The new protocol published by the DAFM is available here.

Lab testing

Lab testing for soil and animal health and welfare is deemed an essential service.

However some private labs, particularly those involved in COVID-19 testing may have capacity issues. Labs are as a result prioritising testing services.

Before submitting samples, other than for BVD testing which is continuing as normal, farmers should contact their lab.

2019 GLAS Payments

The Department of Agriculture has informed IFA that 98% of inspections have now been done. IFA has sought the immediate pay-out of all payments.

Basic Payment Scheme inspections

Inspections

All farm inspections beginning 30th March have now ceased except in exceptional circumstances until 4th May.

Employers


IFA Employment Law Contact
For issues relating to:
  • COVID-19 employment law issues
  • Work permits
IFA Contact: Niamh Brennan
Phone: 01 4260347
Email: niamhbrennan@ifa.ie

This period of uncertainty is a challenging time for employers in the agricultural sector especially. Below are a number of FAQ’s, guides and updates which may assist you during this time.

Why should I do if a staff member presents with symptoms of COVID-19?

You are permitted to ask the staff member to return home.

What extra precautions should I display around my farm/workplace?

It is advised to follow all HSE guidelines and display the information poster clearly around the workplace. You can get a copy of the COVID-19 information poster here.

What payment are available for employees who cannot work due to illness or lay-off?

If a worker/employee is diagnosed with COVID-19 or advised to self-isolate, they can apply for income support such as Illness Benefit, or COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment. More information on these payments in our dedicated COVID-19 social welfare section.

What payments are employees entitled to if they are in self isolation?

The rules for Illness Benefit and Supplementary Welfare Allowance have been changed to help prevent the transmission of coronavirus. The changes mean that if an employee is diagnosed with COVID-19 or are suspected of having COVID-19 and are medically required to self-isolate, they can get income support. Employees laid off can also apply for the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment.

More info in our dedicated COVID-19 social welfare section.

What payments are employees entitled to if they are diagnosed with COVID-19?

The rules for Illness Benefit and Supplementary Welfare Allowance have been changed to help prevent the transmission of coronavirus. The changes mean that if an employee is diagnosed with COVID-19 or are suspected of having COVID-19 and are medically required to self-isolate, they can get income support.

More info in our dedicated COVID-19 social welfare section.

What if I have to temporarily lay off non-essential farm workers?

This is called a temporary lay-off.  During this period your employee can apply for a new COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment. This new payment is for employees and self-employed people who have lost employment due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

What if I have to reduce normal working hours for workers/employees?

Workers/employees can apply for short-term work support. It is a form of Jobseekers Allowance if a worker has been temporarily placed on a shorter working week. The payment is made in respect of the worker’s salary for the days they are no longer working.

How can employees/farm workers apply for the COVID-19 unemployment payment?

Employees DO NOT NEED to go to the Intreo Centre to apply, you can apply either by post or online. The form is a simple one-page form, detailed instructions on how complete form are available on www.welfare.ie.  You do not need a Public Services Card (PSC) to apply for the payment.

What is the New Wage Subsidy Scheme for employers whose business is affected by the pandemic?

  • As part of the COVID-19 measures, Revenue will operate a Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme. The scheme, enables employees, whose employers are affected by the pandemic, to receive significant supports directly from their employer.
  • The scheme will run for 12 weeks from 26 March 2020.
  • Employers are encouraged to facilitate employees by operating the scheme, by retaining employees on their books and by making best efforts to maintain a significant, or 100% income, for the period of the scheme.
  • For more details on the Wage Subsidy Scheme see here.

My workers immigration permission from a non-EEA country is due to expire. Is there an exception in the current situation?

Yes, Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan announced that non-EEA nationals with immigration permission due to expire in the near future will be granted an automatic renewal for their visas for two months.

Does the 14-day self-isolation period apply to agricultural workers travelling from abroad?

Yes, workers are obliged to self-isolate for 14 days before commencing work.

COVID-19 employment permits system contingency arrangements

As a response to the COVID-19 public health threat, the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation has implemented a contingency plan to ensure that the Employment Permit system will continue to operate in all scenarios.

With effect from Monday 30th March, the Department has implemented remote working arrangements for staff and has adjusted operations to provide for the acceptance of electronic/scanned documents for Reviews, Stamp 4 letters of support and Trusted Partner applications and will issue the outcomes of these via e-mail rather than through the post.  The Department has also agreed with Immigration Service Delivery, Department of Justice and Equality, as a temporary measure, soft copy arrangements for issuing employment permits.

Full details of these changes, and all other changes along with other important information for users of the employment permit system are available here.

Social Welfare


IFA Social Welfare Contact
For issues relating to:
  • Covid-19 Farmer social welfare entitlements
  • Fair deal
IFA Contact: Geraldine O’Sullivan
Phone: 01 4260381
Email: geraldineosullivan@ifa.ie

COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment

The COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment is a new social welfare payment available to self-employed and employees who have lost their job due to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. The payment will be paid until such a time as this emergency passes.

If you are a farmer who has lost your off-farm job (either self-employed or employed work) or your partner/spouse has lost their job during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic then you may qualify for the payment.

Who is eligible?

If you are farmer who has incurred a substantial loss of income as a result of restrictions, and as a result of this collapse in income would be available to take up other full-time employment if it was available, can qualify for the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment.

To qualify for the new payment, you must be:

  • an employee or self-employed
  • between 18 and 66 years old
  • your trading income has ceased due to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic
  • your ceased trading as self-employed due to the pandemic
  • Full-time farmers who have ceased trading and whose trading income has collapsed to the extent that they would be available to take up other full time employment if it was available to them, can claim the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment
  • Part-time farmers who have lost off-farm employment as a result of the pandemic and who would be in a position to take up other full-time employment if it was available are entitled to the payment of €350 per week.
  • A farmer and/or spouse in receipt of Carers Allowance and Carers Benefit, including those who are working fewer than 18 hours per week, who have ‘ceased trading’ or lost their employment can claim the payment of €350 per week.
  • A farmer in receipt of Disability Allowance that has ‘ceased trading’ or lost employment is entitled to the payment. The payment will be adjusted to take account of the Disability Allowance payment.
  • Students are also eligible to apply for payment if they have lost employment due to the coronavirus restrictions.

A farmer in receipt of Farm Assist payments is NOT entitled to COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment. However, if their income has deteriorated as a result of restrictions or poorer market returns, they can look for a reassessment.

A farmer in receipt of Rural Social Scheme is NOT entitled to COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment, but the existing payment is maintained.

Is a full-time farmer who is unable to trade (sell products) due to the coronavirus entitled to the pandemic unemployment payment?

Yes, if they are fully unemployed due to being unable to trade and whose trading income has collapsed to the extent that they would be available to take up other full time employment if it was available to them, then they would be entitled to claim the Pandemic unemployment payment.

They will receive a flat rate payment of €350 per week. This is equal to the standard jobseeker rate for a two adult household. This payment can increase if they have a number of child dependants.

For example if they have a qualifying adult and at least one qualifying child or they are not claiming for a qualified adult but they have at least 4 qualifying children. To claim the higher payment they should complete the Jobseeker’s Benefit for the Self Employed claim form on www.mywelfare.ie. It may take some time to process this additional payment but they will in the meantime receive a minimum of €350 and any additional payment will be backdated when it is paid.

Is a part-time farmer who has lost off-farm employment as a result of COVID-19 entitled to the pandemic unemployment payment?

Yes, part-time farmers who have lost off-farm employment and who have suffered a substantial loss of income and who would be available to take up alternative full-time employment can also qualify.

Is a farm labourer who is on disability allowance who loses employment on a farm due to the coronavirus entitled to the pandemic unemployment payment?

Yes, they can apply for the pandemic unemployment payment. The Disability Allowance payment will be adjusted to take account of the difference between the COVID-19 payment and their normal employment income. This may take some time and any overpayments or arrears will be adjusted in future payments and arrears will be paid as soon as possible.

Is a farmer and /or spouse/partner who are in receipt of a carers allowance and lose employment due to the pandemic entitled to a payment?

Yes, recipients of Carers Allowance and Carers Benefit, including those who are working less than 18 hours per week, who have lost their employment including people engaged in farming due to effects of the pandemic and are not being paid by their employer can claim The COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment.

What is the payment rate?

You will get a payment of €350 per week until such a time as this emergency passes. There is no payment for dependents.

How do you apply?

You DO NOT NEED to go to the Intreo Centre to apply, you can apply either by post or online. The form is a simple one-page form, detailed instructions on how complete form are available from here.  You do not need a Public Services Card (PSC) to apply for the payment.

Applying by post

Options to get the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment application form:

  • Download it here.
  • Get the form posted to you by emailing your request with your name and address to forms@welfare.ie.
  • Call into your local Intreo Centre or post office.
  • Phone Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection on 1890 800 024 to request a form, due to the volume of calls there may be a significant wait time to talk to someone.

Post form to: Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, FREEPOST, PO Box 12896, Dublin 1.

Applying online

You can apply online for the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment at www.mywelfare.ie. To apply online you will need:

  • A basic MyGovId account (all you need to get a MyGovId account is an e-mail address and password)
  • Your personal details
  • Your bank details.

COVID-19 Illness Benefit

Farmers are eligible for income support under Illness Benefit if they are diagnosed with COVID-19 or are suspected of having COVID-19 and are medically required to self-isolate. This payment is also available to family members of those that are required to medically self-isolate.

Who is eligible?

To qualify for the payment, you must be:

  • self-isolating on the instruction of a doctor or diagnosed with COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
  • be absent from work and confined to your home or a medical facility

What is the payment rate?

The personal payment rate is €350 per week for up to 2 weeks if you are medically required to self-isolate, and for a maximum of 10 weeks if a person has been diagnosed with COVID-19. If a person has been certified for less than 10 weeks, they will be paid for the duration of their certificate.

The changes mean that a farmer no longer has to wait 6 days to qualify for the payment, they are covered from the first week of a COVID-19 diagnosis (or medically-required self-isolation) and any subsequent weeks.

How do you apply?

Step 1

Your doctor must complete a medical certificate on your behalf and send it directly to the Department.

Step 2

You need to complete an Illness Benefit (Form IB 1) application form. There are three ways that you can make an application:

  • Call 1890 800 024 or 01 2481398 between 9.00am and 5.00pm Monday to Friday to get an application form by post.
  • Organise for someone to pick up a form at your doctor’s surgery or at your local Intreo Centre.
  • Get the form posted to you by emailing your request with your name and address to forms@welfare.ie.

It is important to complete part 5 of the Illness Benefit form as this contains how you would like to be paid. You are not required to fill in part 7 of the form. Send your application form: Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, FREEPOST, PO Box 1650, Dublin 1.

When the medical certificate and the application form are received your payment will be processed.

There is no online application facility available currently.

IFA COVID-19 Contact Details

AreaContact Details
Rural Development

Covid-19 farm inspections/ BPS applications, farmers’ rights / GLAS / TAMS / Farm Assist / RSS / CAP / agricultural education
Gerry Gunning
gerrygunning@ifa.ie

01 4260346
Farm Safety 

COVID-19: Plan B/ on-farmer guidelines
William Shortallwilliamshortall@ifa.ie

01 4260370
Beef and Sheep

COVID-19: prices / market issues / EU - national supports / meat processor issues / marts – farm-to-farm movements / farm schemes / BEEP / BDGP / sheep welfare / BEAM
Kevin Kinsellakevinkinsella@ifa.ie

01 4260337
Dairy

COVID-19: processor issues / markets / prices
Catherine Lascurettescatherinelascurettes@ifa.ie

01 4260335
Banking and Taxation

COVID-19: banking / Revenue issuesRevenue
Fintan Conwayfintanconway@ifa.ie

01 4260341
Environment

COVID-19: local authority issues / environmental regulations / nitrates / sustainability / Smart Farming / climate / input prices (fertiliser, feed, oil & diesel)regulations / nitrates / sustainability / Smart Farming / climate / input prices / (fertiliser, feed, oil and diesel)
Thomas Ryanthomasryan@ifa.ie

01 4260349
Animal Health

COVID-19: TB testing / BVD / animal welfare / veterinary medicines / veterinary services
Tomas Bourketomasbourke@ifa.ie

01 4260364
Aquaculture

COVID-19: impact on marine sector
Teresa Morrisseyteresamorrissey@ifa.ie

01 4260338
Farm Family

COVID-19: Social Assistance payments / mental health / Fair Deal

Forestry 

Forestry licences / schemes / timber markets / prices
Geraldine O'Sullivangeraldineosullivan@ifa.ie

01 4260381
Grain, Potatoes and Horticulture 

Market prices
Pat Farrellpatfarrell@ifa.ie

01 4260389
Organics and Employment Law

COVID-19: employment law issues / work permits
Niamh Brennanniamhbrennan@ifa.ie

01 4260347
Oireachtas

COVID-19: Government restrictions / Brexit
Elaine Farrellelainefarrell@ifa.ie

01 4260339
Rural Crime

COVID-19: farm security advice
Barry Careybarrycarey@theftstop.ie

087 1006515
Pigs and Poultry

PPRS crisis / market prices / processor issues / avian influenza / labour issues
Robert Malonerobertmalone@ifa.ie

01 4260388
IFA President’s Office
IFA President, Tim Cullinan
Director General, Damian McDonald
Director of Organisation, James Kelly
Phone: 01 4260329
Association Secretary, Bryan Barry  Phone: 01 4260334

IFA Regional Offices

AreaContact Details
Carlow/Kilkenny/WaterfordJoe Kellykilkenny@ifa.ie

056 7763404
Tipperary/ClarePierre Crowetipperary@ifa.ie

067 32213
Cavan/Louth/MonaghanAnthony Clinton
Turlough Slaney
monaghan@ifa.ie

042 9744870
CorkSean Clarke
cork@ifa.ie

021 4545944
Dublin/MeathAnthony Clinton kells@ifa.ie

042 9744870
Galway/MayoRoy O'Brien
galway@ifa.ie

091 844268
Donegal Turlough Slaney
donegal@ifa.ie

074 9145658
KerryDenis Griffin
kerry@ifa.ie

066 7123279
Kildare/Wexford/WicklowDeclan Phelan
wexford@ifa.ie@ifa.ie

053 9233090
Laois/Offaly/WestmeathWilliam Dolan
offaly@ifa.ie

057 9341447
Leitrim/Longford/Roscommon/Sligo John O'Hanlonroscommon@ifa.ie

090 6625235
LimerickDenis Griffin
limerick@ifa.ie

061 314196
Support Services
Legal Helpline Phone: 1890 252 596
Pieta House Phone: 1890 130 022

Public Information Downloads


COVID-19 Public Information Poster

COVID-19 Public Information Poster As Gaeilge

English COVID-19 Public Information Poster English

Physical Distancing


Two Metres

Groups

Avoid Crowds

For full details and access to posters see the Government’s COVID-19 information centre.

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