“Planning debacle” puts farmers at risk of losing TAMS funding – Fitzmaurice

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Galway TD Michael Fitzmaurice has warned that unfair delays in the planning process are putting farmers at risk of losing much needed TAMS funding.

The Roscommon-Galway TD indicated that he has been contacted by a number of farmers who may lose out on TAMS funding under the Animal Welfare, Safety and Nutrient Storage (AWSNS) scheme due to delays in securing full and final planning permission for new livestock housing facilities.

The Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Schemes provide grant aid to farmers for the construction of new farm buildings  or the purchase of certain new equipment.

“I have been contacted by a number of farmers in recent weeks who – in good faith – applied for planning permission in February for new housing facilities,” Michael Fitzmaurice said.

“But because of legislation we – as public representative – brought in due to the Covid-19 crisis, it allowed councils the opportunity to delay the planning process.”

Deputy Fitzmaurice warned that this could become a “significant animal welfare issue” come winter, as many farmers were relying on this funding to build or improve livestock housing facilities.

“Some of these farmers cannot afford to wait until decisions are made under the next Tranche, as time is of the essence to erect these housing facilities.”

The Independent TD question whether the Department of Agriculture is talking about helping farms, whilst deliberately hitting them with “unfair” regulations.

“The Minister for Agriculture Dara Calleary has an opportunity to get involved here, as farmers have received rejection letters as they didn’t qualify under the tick the box system the department has set up.”