Local Fianna Fáil TD Eugene Murphy has described the Knowledge Transfer online system for farmers as abysmal and chaotic following a series of false starts.
Commenting on the issue Eugene Murphy said “The original deadline of May 31st for the Knowledge Transfer online system was a complete and utter farce- after repeated requests from many organisations the deadline for the scheme has now been extended to July 31st. These online portals for submitting farm improvement plans which for livestock farmers includes a breeding plan, grassland management plan, farm safety plan and profit monitor and the veterinary herd health plan were already delayed for months before the system went live. The system then repeatedly crashed and only eventually went live on May 16th. I also understand that the online system for booking meetings with the Department of Agriculture has also crashed- it simply beggars belief and has descended into an abysmal mess,” said Deputy Murphy.
Deputy Murphy also raised the issue of delays in AEOS payments and said that the latest figures he obtained through a parliamentary question revealed that nationally there were a total of 1,166 farmers owed €3,141 under the AEOS scheme.
“Farmers throughout the country are getting increasingly frustrated and angry at this ongoing situation. The latest figures show that a total of 1,166 farmers nationally are still awaiting AEOS payments. In County Galway 164 farmers are awaiting AEOS payments while in County Roscommon 50 farmers have been left waiting for these vital payments- there is a similar situation in County Leitrim with 49 farmers still waiting on payment while in County Westmeath the figure is 30 and 15 in County Longford.
“I am dealing with representations from farmers in my area who were approved for 100% AEOS payments in December and January and despite their repeated enquiries and efforts they are still waiting. It seems that no payment runs have been made by the Department and people are just being fobbed off with excuse after excuse- it simply is not good enough to say it’s an IT issue- Minister Creed must consider a plan B- the Government should have a fund to make these payments and take the farmers out of this strife and then recoup the money when the IT system is replaced or repaired.
“I also raised the issue of delays in TAMS II payments in the Dáil this week as up to twenty farmers in County Roscommon and 34 in County Galway have experienced delays in their payments, 9 in Leitrim and eleven in County Westmeath.
“Farmers now reporting serious cash flow issues as a result of these extensive delays. The Minister is neglecting farmers who have invested thousands of euro in various schemes and who have made plans in anticipation of these payments. Indeed many farmers who have contacted my constituency office are under increasing pressure from the banks and they are struggling to make ends meet,” said Deputy Murphy.