Roscommon IFA Rural Development Chairman Mr. Donal Greene, said that week that the IFA has expressed serious concern at the Department of Agriculture delays in the processing of TAMS applications for the Dairy Equipment and Sheep Fencing and Handling schemes, which reopened at the end of last year.
Mr. Greene said that over 975 farmers applied for the Dairy Equipment Scheme for the first tranche of funding of 4.425m, which closed on 31st January last. This means that about 380 farmers will qualify for grant aid, with the remainder being transferred to the second tranche, which is now open, and subsequent tranches.
In the case of the Sheep Handling and Fencing Scheme, 260 farmers had applied by the close of the first tranche on the 29th February last.
All of these farmers can be catered for by the tranche allocation of 721,000, he said.
Mr. Greene said IFA has called on Minister Coveney to ensure that farmers who qualify for the first tranche based on the selective criteria are given the go ahead to proceed with work immediately. Many dairy farmers are anxious to proceed with work where they are installing milking machines and bulk tanks under the Dairy Equipment Scheme.
In relation to the other TAMS schemes, Mr. Greene said it is clear that a significant underspend will arise: The full allocation of 8m up to 2013 is unlikely to be taken under the Water Harvesting Scheme as well as some underspend under the Pig Welfare and Poultry Schemes. Now is the time for the Minister to broaden out the eligible items for investment across all sectors, including structures, so that the full allocation of EU funding is spent.