It is disgraceful that farmers who have applied for the Young Farmers Scheme, National Reserve, AEOS, and GLAS still remain unpaid coming to the end of January when payments were due in December according to Mayo Sinn Féin General Election candidate Cllr Rose Conway-Walsh.
Cllr Conway-Walsh said: “I am contacted by farmers right across the county who are desperate for these payments to be issued. In particular those in the Young Farmers Scheme who have paid out for leases which now have to be renewed are struggling to meet these payments. They have already paid out over €2,000 to do the Green Cert and many are attending classes two nights a week. They have also bought stock costing thousands of euro."
She added: "It is grossly unfair that they are still waiting for payment. It is no different to an employee working for months without any payment. In fact it is worse because the upfront payments that have to be paid and the loan repayments that have to be met are putting farmers under severe pressure. For those farmers who are lucky enough to get through to the department most are being advised that their file is clear for payment but no date for payment can be confirmed."
The Sinn Féin general election candidate continued: "We also have this situation with AEOS and GLAS where some farmers are still waiting for the 2015 payment. I am calling on the Minister to pay out these payments which are absolutely essential in Mayo where farm incomes are low and demands on these payments are high. I want a clear answer from our Mayo Government TDs as to why these payments are not being paid out. Could it be that payments are being held so that they can be released in the weeks immediately before the election. This is no way to treat farmers who are working so hard to make a living from the land."