Department must deliver in commitments under Farmers Charter of Rights

The Irish Natura & Hill Farmers Association are insisting that the Department can no longer be allowed to ignore clear commitments in the Farmers Charter of Rights with regard to the issuing of farm payments. National President Colm O’Donnell outlined how cash-flow is now a major issue for farmers, as many try to hang on for the issuing of payments this September and October. Unfortunately stated O’Donnell “the experience of previous years has taught us that, while many farmers will get paid on time, many more will be left waiting for payments because the Department failed to flag issues relating to their payments in time.”

Under the Charter of Rights it states on page 11 that “all queries, with the exception of stocking density queries are notified to Farmers as soon as possible after identification and, at the latest before to 1st September for the ANC and 15th September for the BPS. If the applicant responds within 14 days and provided the response is sufficient to clear all outstanding difficulties, the application will be finalised for payment by the deadline date.”

What we have seen happen over the last number of years added O’Donnell “is a clear breach of this with most farmers only becoming aware of any issue with their payments when they failed to get either their ANC or their BPS.

The farmers leader continued by stating “how this cannot be allowed happen this year which is why I’m calling on Minister Creed to give a commitment that, if any farmer has not being notified by the stated date, then irrespective of any anomalies in their application they will get paid on time.”

O’Donnell also pointed out how there is also enhanced protection for farmers in the Terms & Conditions of the BPS whereby the Department are obliged to carry out preliminary checks by the 15th June. These checks are to assess if there are any issues around eligibility and farmers are to be notified if there are.

He concluded by emphasising “how farmers many of which are in dire financial need cannot be left waiting for their money due to Departmental blunders”