IFA Rural Development Chairman, Michael Biggins has urged the Minister for Agriculture to waive temporarily the TAMS scheme requirement of completing a Health and Safety course. Currently, no courses are available to farmers due to the COVID-19 restrictions.
“While most farmers have the course completed, IFA is aware that there are some who do not. As a result, we are calling on the Minister to provide a temporary concession in order for them to proceed with a payment claim, while giving an undertaking to complete the course when restrictions end,” he said.
The IFA Rural Development Chairman said the weekly payment of €1.5m TAMS grants must continue, as any disruption would add to cash flow difficulties on farms. In the case of farm investment, financial commitments have already been made by many farmers. It is vital that grants continue to be paid out, as farmers have to pay for work up front and show these receipts before grant aid is paid by the Department.
Michael Biggins welcomed the fact that Department TAMS approvals to proceed with work, under tranche 16, are now being issued to 2,600 farmers. However, he said it is disappointing that 660 farmers were rejected and moved to tranche 17, which closes on April 24th.
IFA has been informed that any inspection involving the young farmer element of the scheme will be done by interview over the phone.