At the meeting of the Farmers’ Charter Monitoring Committee in the Department of Agriculture in Portlaoise, IFA Deputy President Eddie Downey said it is totally unacceptable that some farmers have not received their advance Single Farm Payment and Disadvantage Area payments because of mapping and digitisation problems in the Department.
Eddie Downey said the Chairman of the Charter Review Group Mr. John Malone agreed to make immediate contact with the Minister for Agriculture Brendan Smith to highlight the concerns and views of the Charter Committee over the payment delays.
The IFA Deputy President said the Department of Agriculture presented figures to the Review Committee pointing out that 110,438 farmers out of a total of 123,078 applicants have received either their full or partial advance payment amounting to €519m.
On Disadvantage Area payments, the Department of Agriculture presented data showing that 89,096 farmers out of 102,500 applicants had received the full or partial advance amounting to €177.5m.
The IFA Deputy President said the Department confirmed that there about 32,000 farmers still awaiting to have maps digitised.
Eddie Downey said the key issue is that the Minister must insist that all cases are completed in order to ensure that the Department are in a position to issue full payments to farmers on December 1st. He said “Payment delays after this deadline are not acceptable”.
Eddie Downey also outlined the strong anger among farmers on the ground who were selected by the Department of Agriculture for inspections and their payments are now held up because their files have not been returned or processed. He said this is a breach of the Charter as there is a commitment to complete eligibility inspections before the payment deadlines and cross compliance inspections cannot delay payments.