99% paid up in milk superlevy instalments

A three-year instalments plan to help dairy farmers settle their 2014-15 superlevy bill was 99% paid up in 2016, year two of the plan.

Heading into 2017, year three, only €50,000 owed by seven farmers remained overdue to be paid to the Department of Agriculture.

“We have no intention of giving up on the €50,000,” said the Department’s General Secretary, Aidan O’Driscoll, last week.

Following the national superlevy bill of €71 million, 3,700 dairy farmers paid €18.9m to the Department by October 1, 2015, and signed legally binding instalment plan agreements to repay their balance of €35.6m in 2016 and 2017.

Just over 2,700 farmers elected not to use the provision to defer their payments, and instead paid their total superlevy bill of €16.7m upfront in 2015.

Last week’s Oireachtas Committee of Public Accounts debate on EU refunds and levies in the agriculture sector was told by Mr O’Driscoll the Department was required to pay the €71m superlevy bill in full to the European Commission before December, 2015, using the €35.6m collected from farmers, with the remainder sourced from funds the Department had on deposit.

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