IFA Deputy President Richard Kennedy has criticised the decision by the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed to hold back 15% of the 2019 ANC payments. This will result in over €35m not getting to farmers until December.
“Normally, 100% payment is made in September. However, the Minister has decided to pay only 85% next month and hold the remaining 15% until Dec 1st. The Minister is hiding behind EU regulations. He could pay 100% to farmers and resolve any issues with the EU Commission afterwards,” he said.
Richard Kennedy said this is a blow to 100,000 farmers, who expected the full payment next month. “Given the serious income crisis on livestock farms, I cannot understand why the Minister would make this decision,” he said.
IFA Rural Development Chairman Joe Brady said Minister Creed gave a commitment at the IFA AGM in January that there would be 100% in September. “The Minister has reneged on this commitment at a time when livestock farmers in particular are facing huge income pressures,” he said.
IFA acknowledged the decision of the European Commission to sanction the higher advance of 70% under the 2019 Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) and a number of Rural Development Schemes.
He said, “This is welcome news for farmers, who are dealing with a huge amount of uncertainty. Incomes are under significant pressure due to poor market returns and the spectre of a ‘no deal’ Brexit. It is important that the maximum number of farmers are paid in October”.