FARMERS have been urged to set up additional bank accounts with alternative providers to avoid having their single payments offset against existing debt later this year.
Galway West Fine Gael senator Fidelma Healy Eames said she was advising this course of action arising from the revelation that banks can confiscate people’s money on arrival into their account against monies owing in other accounts.
“This is potentially catastrophic for farmers who are dependent on the single farm premium for their annual budgetary needs.
“Farmers receive one annual single farm premium cheque which they must use to budget for their needs for the whole year. This money may already be committed in many different directions,” she said.
Ms Healy Eames said she was not condoning the non-payment of debts, but clearly stating that farmers must remain in control of their financial destiny and retain the ability to self-regulate their finances.
“Banks are now forcing businesses, including farmers, to convert overdrafts into term loans, effectively closing down all credit routes.
“If they also manage to have first call on monies arriving into accounts through the compulsory Electronic Transfer System (ETS), then businesses and families will cease being able to function at all and many will be left destitute,” she said.
Ms Healy Eames said the only way round this, in the short-term, is to open a new bank account in a different brand bank and to inform the Department of Agriculture in the payment section in Cavan who will comply once given notice.
“However, opening a new bank account can take some time so it is best to move on this without delay,” she said.
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