Commenting on the announcement that the closing date for applications under the Basic Payment and Greening Schemes (formerly the Single Farm Payment) and the GLAS can be extended, Mr. John Comer, President of ICMSA, said that whatever decision is taken by the Minister for Agriculture, Food & Marine, it is absolutely essential that farmers still receive the first instalment of their Basic Payment and Greening Payment on 16 October and the final instalment on 1 December and the extension of the closing date cannot be used as an excuse for any delay in payments.
“These payments are far too important to farmers in terms of meeting scheduled bank and other bill repayments as well as tax payments due at that time of year. While an extension is certainly welcome, the Minister must guarantee farmers that payments will be made on the dates set out and that there will be no delay in these payments arising from an extension of the closing date. Many farmers will have already submitted applications and more will do so before the original 15 May deadline and these farmers should not be penalised because the closing date is extended. With the increased usage of the online system by farmers and their advisors, the speed of processing by the Department has improved considerably and this factor should also be considered when deciding what closing date will be selected but the key deciding factor must be the meeting of the existing payment target dates”, said Mr Comer.
In relation to the GLAS scheme, Mr. Comer observed that the situation is different and the Minister should look at having a later closing date for this scheme than the Basic Payment and Greening Schemes and he might consider extending the date to 15 June as allowed by the EU Commission. This would allow the maximum number of farmers to qualify under this scheme in 2015 while not interfering with the payment dates for the Basic Payment and Greening Schemes. “There has been a lot of uncertainty and teething problems in relation to the GLAS scheme and in recognition of this and to assist farmers interested in submitting an application, a 15 June closing date would be appropriate for GLAS”, concluded Mr. Comer.
Ends 25 March 2015.
John Comer, 087-2057846
Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758
ICMSA Press Office