ACRES balancing payments will start to issue in June and will be fully paid by the end of the month, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has confirmed.

An interim ACRES payment was paid in February, at a flat rate of €4,000 for those in ACRES general and €5,000 for those in ACRES co-operation.

“Where there’s extra payments due, they’ll be paid in regular payments throughout the month of June,” the minister said on Wednesday morning at the launch of a €25m breeding waders EIP project in Shannon Harbour, Co Offaly.

Shannon Callows

At the launch, a number of farmers along the Shannon Callows called on the minister to change the grass-cutting dates along the callows and allow earlier mowing to remove the “trash” left from last year.

“Anyone that’s in the scheme is subject to cutting dates on the callows. Last year’s crop is still sitting there and if we have to wait until August to cut that, we’ll run the risk of losing that again. None of these birds that we are trying to restore like that kind of habitat. We need to go in and clear those callows the first opportunity we get in June or early July,” a local farmer said.

The minister said that the reason the payments are there and the reason farmers are getting paid for not cutting up to a certain date is to achieve a specific objective.

“If the evidence is that objective is better achieved some other way – that’s something we need to consider and see if we can accommodate,” he said.