Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has come under fire for the payment dates of the €100m Beef Exceptional Aid Measure (BEAM) and the €20m Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot (BEEP).
Both schemes have been earmarked for payment to farmers in December as beef farmers continue to endure significant losses.
Speaking in the Dáil on Tuesday, Minister Creed said it was not unreasonable to except a delay between the closing of a scheme and the issuing of payments. BEAM closed for applications on 20 September while farmers have until 1 November to submit calf weights under the BEEP scheme.
A total of 34,517 applications were received for the BEAM scheme, with a potential payment of €78,192,380. In BEEP, the value of all approved applications is just over €19m.
Fianna Fáil agriculture spokesperson Charlie McConalogue said the minister spoke about supports for farmers yet “not one euro” had been paid to farmers from the schemes. McConalogue called on the minister to “step up to the mark and deliver on the commitments that were previously made”.
It’s not simply a case of knocking on the door and collecting the money
Minister Creed said cumulatively an additional €100m would be delivered to the sector before the end of the year.
McConalogue also raised the possibility of the minister committing to securing a further compensation scheme to support farmers for losses sustained since May.
Minister Creed said the best case possible for support to the agricultural sector continued to be made. However, he stressed: “It’s not simply a case of knocking on the door and collecting the money.”