In recent times, we have seen a strategy of “money first, policy later” adopted in relation to lobbying for farm schemes. It is built on a theory of securing the money first and then influencing policy later. The ongoing fallout of the BEAM scheme exposes why this doesn’t work. Despite an initial budget of €100m, it is possible that just 60-70% of this could end up being passed back to farmers. The situation is made worse by the fact that money paid out to farmers is now being clawed back.
The decision by Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue to charge farmers an interest rate of 3% on monies not repaid within just one month sees him positioning himself firmly alongside his other Government colleagues who, in recent times, have been accused of being completely tone deaf in relation to the public mood.