The Chairperson of the ICMSA’s Farm and Rural Affairs Committee, Patrick Rohan, has criticised the current impasse whereby farmers that applied for grant-aid for the purchase of a bulk tank under the TAMS II Dairy Equipment Scheme are now being refused payment because their Co-op provided loans to the farmer to purchase the equipment.
Mr. Rohan described this disqualification as “nonsensical” and asked how borrowing from a Co-op differed significantly from getting a loan from a Bank or Credit Union Loan to pay for the bulk tank. He went on to say that in situations where a farmer needed to upgrade his or her equipment, the Dairy Equipment Scheme provided an excellent opportunity to off-set the overall cost and the popularity of the scheme was testament to its usefulness and necessity. However, in the aftermath of the 2016 financial crisis dairy farm cash-flow was severely restricted and a number of Co-ops across the country provided low interest loans – as they had done in the past – to enable farmers to carry out the necessary investment on their farms. He noted that this was the co-operative ethos at work and it was extremely disappointing that the Department schemes considered such a basic help as grounds to exclude this group of farmers from payment.
“We recently with Minister Creed and very clearly outlined our extreme disappointment at this attitude. In all fairness, it is surely irrelevant whether a loan for an item of equipment is received from a financial institution or a Co-op – the money has to be repaid anyway. ICMSA is calling on the Minister to ensure that these farmers are paid as a matter of priority and that the rules going forward allow such positive and completely sensible initiatives to continue”, said Mr. Rohan.
Ends 3 March 2017.
Pat Rohan, 087-6253506
Chairperson, ICMSA Farm Services & Rural Affairs Committee
Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758
ICMSA Press Office