Deputy Charlie McConalogue says the Agriculture Minister must intervene to ensure that GLAS and AEOS payments are made to farmers as a matter of urgency.
More than 600 farmers in Donegal are still waiting on GLAS payments, and over 300 have still not received their AEOS payments, which were due last year.
Deputy McConalogue commented, “The latest figures from the Department of Agriculture are truly shocking, revealing the extent of the delays in GLAS and AEOS payments. More than a fifth of farmers who applied for GLAS are still waiting for their funding to come through. This is an extremely serious situation for the hundreds of farmers across Donegal who are relying on these essential payments to stay afloat.
“The delays in these payments are unprecedented and are threatening the future of farm families. Many farmers had taken out loans last year, expecting their GLAS and AEOS payments to be drawn down by the end of the year. It is now February and more than 600 farmers are still waiting to be paid – all the while having to make repayments they can scarcely afford.
“It is unfair that farmers are being penalised for something that is not of their own doing, and the Minister needs to intervene to speed up these payments. Farmers are already under severe financial pressure as a result of price volatility and cash flow problems. These payments are badly needed, but the Minister seems oblivious to the seriousness of the situation.
“Under the Farmers’ Charter, 75% of payment was due last October, it’s now February and we have a situation where 602 farmers are still waiting for their GLAS payments to be made.
“This Government cannot continue to treat small farmers like second class citizens. The Minister needs to stand up for these farmers instead of blaming IT glitches for the delays. We need the Minister to act to protect these vulnerable family farms”.