Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue must ensure that all remaining Agri-Climate Rural Environmental Scheme (ACRES) payments are issued in June as promised, Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers' Association (ICSA) president Seán McNamara has said.

Minister McConalogue has stated that balancing payments will be made regularly throughout June and this commitment must be honoured, said McNamara.

"Farmers will not accept any more excuses," he said.

Promised payments have been repeatedly pushed back and the saga of delayed payments has been going on far too long, the president said.

Necessary systems

"Farmers cannot be expected to do more and more on the environment if the Department doesn’t have the necessary systems in place to pay farmers for the work they have done.

"ACRES is our flagship environmental scheme, but leaving farmers financially stranded has left a very bad taste. No farmer should have to wait this long to receive any payment.”

McNamara said timely payments are not just a matter of financial fairness, but also essential for the sustainability of many farming operations.

“Delays in payments can lead to significant cashflow problems and affect farmers' ability to meet their financial obligations. This is particularly the case for [the] low-income beef, sheep and suckler sectors.

"It is imperative that Minister McConalogue follows through on his commitment this time and farmers receive what they are owed by the end of June.”