IFA President Eddie Downey met with the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney this week and made it abundantly clear that the payment delays farmers are encountering with the Department of Agriculture on Basic Payments and ANC payments are totally unacceptable and must be resolved immediately.
Following acute criticism of the payment delays at the IFA Executive Council meeting today, Eddie Downey said Minister Coveney needs to make an immediate decision to make an advance payment to every farmer, who has not yet been paid, and to resolve problem issues at a later stage.
At yesterday’s meeting in the Department, Eddie Downey told Minister Coveney: “In a year when farmers are encountering severe income difficulties, it is totally unacceptable that over 20,000 payments are held up to farmers under the Basic Payment scheme and up to 15,000 ANC payments are outstanding”.
The IFA Deputy President Tim O Leary said most of the farmers that have contacted IFA on payment delays have not received any correspondence or contact from the Department. He said this lack of communication is a major issue that must be addressed. He insisted that farmers who are facing tax bills in the next fortnight need to know what is holding up their payment so these issues can be resolved quickly and payment can be made. “The Minister accepted this and said more effort would be made to communicate with farmers.”
Tim O Leary said that the main payment delays seem to involve the usual difficulties around inspections, satellite inspections, digitising, mapping, administration, partnerships, duel claims, GLAS applications, transfers, PCC, herd numbers, commonages and stocking rate issues on ANC’s.
Tim O Leary said Minister Coveney accepted that farmers are entitled to get their payment on time and delays are unacceptable. The Minister said he would prioritise getting payments out over the next two weeks and all resources would be devoted to resolving individual problems.
Minister Coveney told the IFA that 106,000 basic payments have been made and over 80,000 ANC payments have been sent out.