TUV Leader and former MEP, Jim Allister, this week strongly criticised the DARD Minister in the Assembly over the fact that Northern Ireland farmers will not be able to take advantage of the recently EU approved option of October advances on Single Farm Payments.
In the course of Questions to the minister Mr Allister said, “ The Minister likes to boast from time to time about how focused she and her Department are on EU negotiations and advancements and all of that…. Why is it that the farmers in Northern Ireland appear to be the only farmers in the EU, quite possibly, who will be unable to avail themselves of the October drawdown of advances in respect of single farm payments. Has her Department not lamentably failed the farming community in Northern Ireland in that regard, because the deficiencies in her system, on her watch, have produced that unacceptable situation?”
Commenting Jim Allister said, “This is a system failure at the heart of DARD, with the department failing to keep up and put itself in a position where our hard-pressed farmers could enjoy early drawdown of their SFP. On top of the catastrophic handling of the mapping issues, farmers, once again, are paying the price for DARD incompetence.”