Written Answers. - Departmental Payments.

Paul Connaughton


362 Mr. Connaughton asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development the reason his Department is exceedingly slow with regard to the issuing of details of individual farmers livestock payments and other payments which are needed for old age pension, farm assist and other social welfare applications; if his attention has been drawn to the fact of the tremendous difficulties and anxieties that are created by the non-availability of such information; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19155/00]

My Department is very conscious of the need to provide information to individual farmers on request. Indeed computer facilities have been put in place to ensure that summary information is available.

In addition, last year my Department co-operated with the Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs in the introduction of the farm assist scheme. At that time a special facility was developed to ensure that information required by farm assist applicants was available on request and would meet the requirements laid down by the Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs.

I have agreed in the protocol on direct payments to farmers that from June 2001 onwards annual statements detailing scheme by scheme payments during the previous year will be issued to each beneficiary.

Given my commitment on providing a quality service to all clients of the Department I would be very concerned if individuals were experiencing difficulty in receiving information which is readily available in the Department. If the Deputy would wish to draw my attention to particular individuals I will have the matter investigated.