West Tyrone Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

Farmers still awaiting single farm payments.

Published: 22 May, 2012

Sinn Féin councillor Sean Donnelly has written to the Agricultural Minister Michelle O'Neill after he claimed some farmers in the area are still awaiting their single farm payments from 2011. He furthermore claimed the hold up in the payments being made is having an overbearing financial burden on many farmers locally who have had to apply for bank loans in absence of the Single Farm Payments being made. Speaking on the issue Councillor Donnelly said: "I have been in contact with a number of local farmers who have still not received their Single Farm Payments from 2011. This leaves them at an obvious disadvantage. Some of those I have spoken to have said they have got vague indications that it may well be the late summer before they see payments being made to them. Inspections have already taken place on many of the farms involved with no payments yet forthcoming. "Many of the farmers awaiting Single Farm Payments have had to seek loans from the bank in order to continue to operate their farming business. This is having an overbearing effect on many who are awaiting the payments in order to repay the loans they have received. "I have been working closely with MLA Michaela Boyle, who sits on the Agricultural Committee regarding the issue and have been assured that the Minister is to meet with senior bank officials to explain the delay in payments and to ensure that farmers who are awaiting the grant are not unfairly penalised by the banks. I have furthermore been advised by MLA Barry McElduff that he has submitted a written Question to the minister on the issue in order to seek clarity on the issue. "Indeed the Minister is well aware of the amount of bureaucracy involved in the application process and in April outlined measures she intends to take to improve the application process and speed up the time between applying and receiving the grant. It is my hope that the small number of outstanding claims from 2011 are processed in such a manner so that the local farmers affected can be reimbursed for their purchases and continue to remain competitive in the business.