A review on TAMS reference costs must be initiated and completed by the beginning of this August, the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA) has said.

Chair of the ICMSA’s farm business committee Pat O’Brien, called on Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue to begin the process of such a review.

O’Brien added that due to concrete inflation and the mica levy, currently the reference costings for TAMS are “drifting into unreality”.

“We have repeatedly pointed out that TAMS costings were drifting into unreality but it must be obvious to everyone by now that the grant paid on TAMS projects is way off the 40% level for farmers and the 60% for young farmers.

“Minister McConalogue should immediately initiate a review of TAMS reference costs to be completed by 1 August 2024 that addresses the inflation in costs all can see,” he said.

O’Brien added that the review must result in increased TAMS reference costs.

“Those must be applied to existing projects under construction.

“It’s just unacceptable and misleading to be telling farmers that they are getting a 40% or 60% grant when the reality is completely different,” he said.

The farm business chair also said the minister needs to publish the methodology used in reviewing the reference costs and itemise specific costings used for specific items.

“The minister should publish the price used so that farmers can judge themselves whether the real costs of construction are being taken into account when setting the TAMS reference costs.

“The costings on which the grants are currently based would seem to belong to ‘fantasy land’,” O’Brien said.