Mayo Fine Gael TD John O’Mahony has called for the resignation of the Minister for Agriculture, Brendan Smith TD, after figures he obtained showed that nearly 1,300 farmers in Mayo are still awaiting payment on the REPS 4 scheme for 2009.
Deputy O’Mahony said the minister had to take personal responsibility for the critical situation that so many farmers are finding themselves in over his department’s failure to pay out on REPS 4.
“In December the Minister informed me that payments would be made before Christmas and this did not happen. Three weeks ago the Minister told me in the Dáil that the applications were being processed but in that time just under 300 farmer have been paid. That leaves 1,276 farmers in Mayo high and dry at a time when there is a crisis in farming and the very future of the industry is being threatened,” he said.
Dep O’Mahony said farmers are struggling to make ends meet and many have decided that enough is enough and they have walked away from it all. Those that are staying with farming are at their wits end to make repayments on loans that they took out on the strength of the REPS 4 grant. It’s a ridiculous situation for them to find themselves in and one that was totally avoidable if the Minister was doing his job properly,” he said.