Welcoming the appointment of Dr. Sean Brady as the new Chairperson of the Farmers Charter Monitoring Committee, the Deputy President of ICMSA, Mr. Pat McCormack said that the new Committee should meet as soon as possible as he indicated there are already issues arising with schemes, including delays in the payment of the ANCs and BPS/Greening payments, as well as problems relating to approvals under TAMS and GLAS.
“It is hugely important that the Committee ensures that the Department is held accountable in relation to the targets set under the Charter and, further, that the targets are met and honoured in full. ICMSA envisages the Chairperson having a dual role: Firstly, that the Department meet the agreed targets in a way that accords with the commitments they have made in the Charter and, secondly, that where issues arise, that speedy resolutions are put in place and that the Monitoring Committee carries out its remit in seeing those solutions through. In addition, where changes are made to the Charter in the future, the Monitoring Committee and Chair are obliged to ensure that these changes have been negotiated and agreed and not introduced on the Department’s ‘say-so’ and without agreement as has happened in the past. It’s fair to say that the record of the Monitoring Committee has been varied over the years and it is crucial that from Day One that the Committee demonstrates its independence and determination to ensuring that commitments given are fully honoured and not merely some ‘ rough guide’ to be changed at the whim of the Department”, said Mr McCormack
The ICMSA Deputy President said that based on the volume of calls from members his association has received over the past few weeks, there are major problems in relation to the BPS/Greening payment and ANC payment and he said the first test of the Monitoring Committee was whether they can ensure that these are resolved without delay. “The BPS/Greening and ANC payment now represent a huge proportion of farmer’s income and with many bills to be paid at this time of the year, as well as tax bills, delays of a number of weeks mean huge difficulties for individuals”, he continued.
“At this stage, it certainly appears that the Department has already broken the target of 90% of all applicants being paid in Week One and this is very discouraging. Farmers submitted their application before the closing date of 31 May 2015 and they have a legitimate right to expect that their application would be processed and paid at this stage. The Charter Monitoring Committee will be judged on their performance in clear-cut cases exactly like this where the Department has fallen short”, concluded the ICMSA Deputy President.
Ends 30 October 2015.
Pat McCormack, 087-7608958
Deputy President, ICMSA.
Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758
ICMSA Press office