Fianna Fáil TD for Offaly Barry Cowen says farmers will face increased cash flow problems as a result of serious delays in Rural Development Programme payments.
New figures released to Fianna Fáil show that only 52% of this year’s budget allocation has been paid out.
Deputy Cowen said, “Many farmers in Offaly rely on funding from the Rural Development Programme to keep their farms profitable. However new figures obtained by Fianna Fáil show that only half of this year’s funding for agri-schemes has been paid to farmers. This will result in serious financial hardship for farmers right across the Midlands.
“It’s particularly worrying that less than 4% of GLAS payments have been made. The government failed to allocate the level of funding that it originally promised for this scheme, and now it’s failing to pay out. This is a completely unacceptable situation. How are Offaly farmers meant to plan for the year when the Government fails to pay vital funding on time?"
He stated that payments under TAMS and the Beef Genomics Scheme are also seriously behind schedule adding that these underspends were 'significant by any metric' and would have serious consequences for small family farmers in Offaly.
“Many farmers have had to take out loans to keep their businesses going while they wait for their payments to come through, and these delays will exacerbate an already difficult situation," he remarked. "Farmers should not have to rely on banks and other financial institutions to cover the cost of works, which these agri-schemes cover. This is creating a major cash flow crisis, which is completely preventable.
“This has been a very difficult year for farmers, and these underspends and delayed payments are making a bad situation worse,” concluded Deputy Cowen.