Border farmers under pressure as vital farm funding still not paid – Smith

– Only half of RDP payments made in the first 10 months of the year –

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Brendan Smith says hundreds of farmers across Cavan and Monaghan are being placed under increased financial pressure because essential farm payments have not been paid.

New figures released to Fianna Fáil reveal that only 52% of Rural Development Plan payments have been made in the first 10 months of this year.

Deputy Smith commented, “Many farmers in Cavan and Monaghan rely on funding from schemes in 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 date.  This will result in serious financial hardship for farmers in the border region.

“The fact that less than 4% of GLAS payments and fewer than 13% of TAMS payments have been made to date is particularly worrying and will add to the financial pressure already being experienced by small family farmers.  Payments under the Beef Genomics scheme and AEOS are also seriously delayed.  This is completely unacceptable and is very unfair to local farmers.

“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.  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.

“Farm families in Cavan and Monaghan have already faced a difficult year, with significant price cuts and the collapse of Sterling following the British Brexit vote.  The delays in these important payments will exacerbate an already difficult situation for farmers.  Minister Creed needs to examine what is leading to these delays and ensure that these payments are made before the end of the year”.