Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture, Claire Kerrane TD, has called for an immediate response from Minister McConalogue on delays to farm payments.
Many farmers are still awaiting their payments for the Basic Income Support for Sustainability (BISS) and Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC), following delays to the payments being made this year. Minister McConalogue announced delays of up to a month for BISS and ANC payments this year, with payments usually received in September.
The minister confirmed that payments had begun issuing to farmers from the last week of October. However, it is being reported that many farmers have not yet received their BISS or ANC payments as of mid-November.
Speaking this week, Deputy Kerrane said, “I have raised the issue of delays to much-needed farm payments for months now, and highlighted to the minister the serious pressure that farmers would be under by delaying BISS and ANC payments by a month.
“Despite these concerns, which were echoed by farmers and representative organisations, the payments began issuing several weeks ago in late October.
“Yet, if these delays weren’t bad enough, I understand that many farmers are still awaiting their BISS and ANC payments. This delay to already delayed payments is not good enough. I understand that, to add insult to injury, many farmers received no forewarning about these additional delays. They have been left in limbo waiting for the Department to respond.
“I have been contacted by farmers who are increasingly frustrated with the Department. Farmers have bills to pay and cannot wait any longer for these much-needed and heavily relied upon payments.
“I have now contacted the minister to find out how many farmers are affected by further delays to their BISS and ANC payments, and to clarify what he intends to do to resolve the matter immediately”.