Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has been called on to take action in relation to the 29,000 farmers still awaiting farm payments by Sinn Féin spokesperson on agriculture Claire Kerrane.

Minister McConalogue provided figures in response to Kerrane on Wednesday, which stated that 8,000 farmers were waiting for their Basic Income Support for Sustainability (BISS) payment. Additionally, 11,000 farmers are awaiting their Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) payment and 10,000 farmers are waiting for payment under eco-schemes.

“While it is welcome that 90% of BISS payments and 89% of ANC payments have been paid, the fact remains that 29,000 farmers are still waiting for their payments.

“These payments provide crucial financial support to farmers, and many simply cannot be left waiting to receive them.

“As I have said before, farmers have bills to pay, especially this year when costs have been extremely high and these payments are heavily relied-upon,” she said.

These payments were already delayed by a month this year, so it is not good enough to have farmers wait several more weeks for payments that they need now, Kerrane added.

“I will continue to push for the Minister and his Department to revisit the current plan to make outstanding payments in December, and instead resume the processing of payments immediately.

“Farmers have waited long enough, and we now need to see outstanding payments issued without delay,” she said.

Payment pause

The Irish Farmers Journal revealed last week that the Department of Agriculture had hit pause on issuing farm payments until 1 December.

The Department stated that it was necessary to pause payments under some schemes, while it made final arrangements for the delivery of balancing payments, due to issue from 1 December.

“This is normal practice and has happened across previous years, for example in 2022, advance payments paused on 7 November and balancing payments commenced on 1 December,” a spokesperson said.