The Deputy President of ICMSA, Denis Drennan, said that the reports and rumours circulating that final decisions on TAMS application will not be conveyed until November at the earliest, are nearly unbelievable and will substantiate the association’s warning – made earlier this year – that delays and bizarre sequencing on the part of the Department’s oversight of TAMS would end up ‘writing-off’ the whole year.
Noting the association’s reluctance to ever comment on rumours or unofficial reports, Mr. Drennan said that the matter’s importance overrode that usual cautionary custom. He said that everyone agreed that improved water quality is a priority in terms of the sustainability ambitions for the agricultural sector. Against that background, the well-known Kilkenny farmer asked how it had made sense for the Department to operate a timeline that was effectively unworkable and wasted a whole year that farmers had been told could not be wasted.
“ICMSA and farmers in general are just at a loss to work out the sequencing that the Department is operating here. We all agree that TAMS is the area where we can get environmental results the quickest, and it is the most obvious ‘controllable’ – it’s entirely within our powers to get the processing done in a workable timeframe that works within the farming calendar. That’s just not the way this has been queued up by the Department. We are now hearing rumours that decisions on approval should not be expected until November at the earliest. At that stage, what’s the point? Who’s going to find a contractor and start the work at that stage, in that weather? Would it not have made so much more sense to bring forward the whole sequence so that the approval and construction was possible by early June when the weather and ground conditions would allow for faster and more efficient construction? The Department’s sequencing and timeline on this – something that was entirely within their own control – has ended up wasting the whole year. Genuinely, what is the point in giving a farmer the ‘go-ahead’ in November to begin construction work?”
The ICMSA Deputy President said that farmer frustration was more acute because these were not overly complex calculations and sequences to work out.
“We can’t understand why it’s deemed impossible for the Department to introduce obvious and logical sequences for these schemes. We keep being told that there’s no time to lose in terms of safeguarding water quality, and then we have a completely unworkable and illogical sequence like this that just wastes a whole year that we were told repeatedly we didn’t have,” said Mr Drennan.