The Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, said 85% of the full-year 2016 payments for Glas will reach farmers’ bank accounts in the coming days.
He expects almost €100m of the scheme’s €117m fund, co-funded under Ireland’s Rural Development Programme, to be distributed before Christmas.
Also, 2016 AEOS payments amounting to more than €17m have also been paid to over 5,200 participants who are still in that scheme.
Mr Creed said: “These payments worth just under €100m, will give a welcome boost to both the wider rural economy and to individual scheme participants which will be particularly welcome given the challenges faced by farmers in recent times.”
IFA rural development chairman, Joe Brady, said the 38,000 farmers due a Glas payment must receive the payment over the coming days.
He said the department had previously promised €124m would be paid out under Glas before year end.
Joe Brady said: “With the 85% payment being made, it is vital that the remaining 15% is paid at the earliest possible date in 2017. The Glas scheme was promised to be worth €250m per year; this level needs to be achieved with numbers in the scheme exceeding 50,000 with the recent closure of Glas III applications.”
Patrick Rohan, ICMSA farm and rural affairs chairman, has called on Mr Creed to find extra funding to ensure all valid applicants can access the scheme.
“Over 2,500 farmers did not gain access to tranche two, despite having incurred the cost of preparing plans, and tranche three applicants now face the same problem with the scheme again oversubscribed,” said Mr Rohan.
“Glas is a very popular scheme with measurable environmental benefits; we should build on this, which is why Minister Creed must take unused funds from other areas and divert that money to Glas to allow entry for all valid applicants in tiers one, two and three,” he said.
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