IFA Rural Development Chairman Joe Brady has called on the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed to ensure that all farmers who are due payments under the GLAS scheme are now paid without any further delays.
At the IFA AGM held in Dublin this week, IFA clearly told Minister Creed that the payments of GLAS are at unacceptable levels with 10,000 farmers still to be paid with many at breaking point.
So far, €97m was paid out at the end of December last, which represented 85% of the payment to 27,363 GLAS 1 and 2 farmers. It would appear that very few payments were made this week, despite commitments given that more payments would be made. IFA estimates that a further €35m is now due as well as GLAS+ payments worth €3.6m. The remaining 15% payment will be paid from the end of February onwards when on-farm inspections have been completed by the Department of Agriculture on selected farms.
In relation to AEOS, Joe Brady pointed out that around 4,000 farmers are still due a payment, which for many is their last payment in the scheme, as many AEOS farmers have now moved to GLAS.
Joe Brady said that the delays in GLAS and AEOS payments have caused a lot of concern on farms and has seriously affected cash-flow difficulties on farms. Minster Creed has been left in no doubt as to the gravity of the situation and IFA now expect action.
In relation to GLAS 3, the IFA Rural Development Chairman has welcomed the fact that all 14,000 farmers who applied for the scheme at the end of 2016 will be accepted. The inclusion of the 837 Tier 3 farmers is a sensible move as the more farmers who are in a scheme like GLAS the bigger impact it has on farm income. The total number of farmers in the scheme now will be 52,282 which will be worth in excess of €230m which will play a vital role in supporting low farm incomes.