Fianna Fáil TD for Roscommon-Galway, Eugene Murphy, has said the confusion surrounding the fees which are being charged by Teagasc for farmers taking part in the Knowledge Transfer programme must be addressed as a matter of urgency.
Deputy Murphy said he has been contacted in recent days by a number of farmers who are being charged up to €460 to be a part of the Teagasc Knowledge Transfer Programme. The farmers were not notified of the fees before they entered the programme and are now being told that if the fees are not paid their paperwork will be withheld from the Department of Agriculture until the fees are paid in full.
"Teagasc have been paid a membership fee of €500 by the Department of Agriculture for each member entering the group, and it was the understanding of the farmers that this covered all administration fees," Deputy Murphy said. "They have now received a bill for the group planner and administration costs; however most farmers already employ consultants to generate the paperwork and therefore the fee they are been asked to pay Teagasc is technically for doing work that is already done so it is grossly unfair and needs to be remedied.
“It was the presumption of the members of the Knowledge Transfer Group that the initial membership fee paid by the Department would cover all of the cost to be a part of the group. I will be seeking clarification in relation to the fees structure from the Department of Agriculture to ascertain what exactly the farmers are paying for in relation to the administration costs."