Dairy Investment Grant Approvals 'must be issued immediately'
DESPITE commitments given by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food at the last Farmers' Charter meeting in July that applications for the Dairy Investment Grant would be in local offices by the following week after, Mr. John Comer, Deputy President and Chairperson of ICMSA's Farm Services and Environment Committee, said that applications are only now reaching local offices and still no approvals have been issued to farmers.
In addition, Mr Comer said it is emerging that it could be a number of weeks yet before all applications reach the local offices – resulting in still more delays in securing approval for some farmers.
"This is another example in a long line where commitments made under the Farmers Charter have been broken and, at this stage, the Minister must make up his mind: either meet the commitments given under the Farmers Charter or tell farmers very clearly that he is not prepared to implement those commitments and simply watch as the Charter leaks even more credibility", stated Mr Comer
"It is totally unacceptable that farmers who applied for this scheme as far back as March still have not received approval and it is equally unacceptable to make commitments, allow farmers to plan on the basis of those same commitments, and then allow the Department to break those commitments at the last minute. Farmers who have made applications under this scheme are likely to want to commence work on their grant aided investment in this Autumn period when cows are dried off and, in order to do so, it is simply imperative that they receive approval as soon as possible", said the ICMSA Deputy President.
Mr. Comer called on the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to immediately instruct his staff to issue approvals to all eligible applicants within the next two weeks so that – even at this late stage – the farmers concerned can begin the work during the upcoming suitable period.