Confusion about what land qualifies for EU farm subsidy payments
Published 15/04/2015 | 02:30
Confusion reigns for farmers over the implementation of a European grant scheme - which could see thousands being left ineligible.
Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney accepted there were issues surrounding the Basic Payment Scheme, saying that he hoped to have the answers "in a number of days".
"We are looking for more flexibility from the commission in terms of land eligibility because the strict interpretation that would have been there in previous years would mean that a lot of farmers would have to look at making some of their land ineligible because it isn't being directly farmed", Mr Coveney told the Irish Independent.
He said the Government hoped to publish a booklet on land eligibility "very shortly" to explain to farmers what they need to consider before putting in an application.
His comments come after an Oireachtas Agriculture Committee meeting, which outlined farmer's frustrations over the scheme.
Irish Farmers Association President Eddie Downey said farmers were left "in a very precarious position" over not knowing if scrubland and marginal land in mountainous areas qualified for the new payments.
The IFA was also concerned about an "overzealous" approach by some department inspectors on what land was eligible for payment as shown by the fact that penalties in some counties were much higher than others, he told the Oireachtas Agriculture Committee.