The delay in paying farmers what they are owed under the Glas scheme is scandalous and the Minister must ensure that farmers are paid immediately and manually if the IT systems are not working properly.
It is totally intolerable that here we are, a month after Christmas, that there are a substantial number of farmers who still have to recieve their Glas payments.I am calling on the Minister today to take the bull by the horns and issue the farmers the money that they are owed. This is the first Glas payment and if there is a discrepancy, there is an opportunity for the Department to redress the situation over the next four years. It is shameful of the Department and the Minister the way they have treated farmers on this issue.
Farmers are gettng phone calls from banks and financial instutions looking for payments on loans and now they are in breach of the terms and conditions of those loans and now they will be black listed because of these delays. That’s down to the Department and this fiasco in connection with Glas payments.
The Minister needs to come out and make it very clear in a statement that he acknowledges that there are serious problems with the IT systems in the Department in connection with this issue. We are also hearing that farmers who were to have a nutrient management plans in before Christmas have had serious problems because planners have found that when they sent in the plans they were rejected because of IT problems, This is a scandalous situation in 2017 that the Department are not able to accept information nor pay the farmers in time.
The cheques should be paid out manually now as they have four more years to look into this matter. Hopefully they will get their IT systems right over the next year. We need to do a root and branch analysis of this whole system. I will be asking the Agriculture Committee in the Dail to bring in the IT people from the Department to answer questions because the system seems to be in total chaos at the moment.
In addition, there are farmers who applied for Glas 1, were rejected, and some went through an appeal and won their appeal and now are recieving e-mails from the Department that saying that they do not have the capability in IT terms to re-instate them so they can progress their payments. This is a total joke and another indication of what’s going on in the Department.