MLA Irwin welcomes payments progress

Newry & Armagh DUP Assemblyman and DAERA committee member William Irwin has welcomed progress in the Assembly to legislate for the continuation of basic payments to farmers.

Mr Irwin said the continuation of the scheme at last year’s exchange rate and the indication that payments will be made as early as October, would be welcomed by farmers across Northern Ireland.

He stated: “I welcome the steps taken by Minister Poots in bringing this continuity of payment legislation through the Assembly in a timely fashion and it will give much needed certainty to farmers at this current time.

“The fact that the legislation allows for the exchange rate to be mirrored from last year is also a welcome boost and will be well received by the farming community across Northern Ireland.”

He added: “What is also welcome is the Department has indicated that payments will be made as early as October and another important factor is that the payments system in Northern Ireland has continued to improve and speed up in terms of processing to the point that it is the quickest system in the United Kingdom. Thanks must of course go to officials within DAERA for their efforts in this regard to refine the system and make the process of payments as efficient as possible.”

Mr Irwin concluded: “Encouragingly we now have a Minister in place and also a functioning DAERA committee which is important in order to make progress on these types of issues and have the ability to scrutinise. The farming and wider agri-food sector must be heard and I will continue to listen attentively to the industry and speak up for the farmer at Stormont.”