Responding to confirmation of a further delay in the payment of €10/ewe under the new Sheep Scheme by the Department of Agriculture this week, IFA National Sheep Committee Chairman James Murphy said sheep farmers were disappointed, angry and frustrated by the saga surrounding a payment which the Minister for Agriculture Brendan Smith promised would be made on December 8th.
James Murphy pointed out that the Minister for Agriculture Brendan Smith had announced this scheme on several occasions and most recently confirmed that payments would commence from December 8th. He said it is totally unacceptable that payments had not been made in early December as per the deadline set down by the Minister.
The IFA sheep farmers’ leader pointed out that the low income sheep sector had been among the hardest hit by the severe weather over the last month with sheep farmers left with no option but to introduce additional feeding and housing in many cases over two months earlier than normal. He said this had significantly increased costs on sheep farms and many were dependent upon the payout of the €10/ewe prior to Christmas.
James Murphy said IFA President John Bryan has made it very clear to Minister Smith that the sheep scheme payment delay is totally unacceptable and causing significant difficulties on flock owners.
James Murphy said Minister Smith must deal with the technical issues that have held up payment as a matter of urgency and ensure that payments are made without any further delay.