It has come to my attention in the last few days that agricultural planners around the country are facing problems with regard to drawing down funds in relation to Glas courses and the Minister needs to address the situation immediately.
Farmers get 158 Euro for spending a day doing this course and it is the Glas planners who pay those farmers. But unfortunatley I hear from the planners that the Department has not set up the IT system properly so that they can be remunerated.
As a result of this we are now seeing planners who have a number of farmer clients, getting calls from them looking for money and there are huge amounts owed to farmers. The planners themselves have not been paid for their work in addition to the money that they have to pay farmers because of this IT situation. Glas has had serious problems ever since it was set up with IT failures.
It is imperative that the Minister moves rapidly to solve this problem. I have put in a Parlimentary Question into the Minister on this issue today but I should not have to be doing that. This Minister seems to have been behind the curve on the whole Glas set up from day one. He needs to move on this immediately because a lot of planners around the country will face ruin because they are waiting on large amounts of money.
It may be all right for the likes of Teagasc who have a Government budget as they can write out cheques, but for the ordinary planners it’s a case of go into an overdraft situation or simply wait. These farmers deserve their money but the planners cannot give them the funds until they get paid themselves.