Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Saturday 21 October 2017

Farmer appeals to Department up 44pc

Caitriona Murphy

Caitriona Murphy

The Department of Agriculture recorded a massive 44pc increase in the number of farmers who appealed decisions made by Department officials last year.

Almost 700 farmers made appeals to the Department of Agriculture last year, an increase of nearly 50pc on the number received in 2008.

Figures released by the Department of Agriculture Appeals Office show that 692 cases were received last year, compared to 481 12 months before.

The highest number of appeals were related to REPS, which was the subject of controversy when Agriculture Minister Brendan Smith said last July that REPS 4 was closed for applications.

Payment

More than 60pc (427) of appeals were related to REPS, while the single farm payment scheme accounted for 118 appeals.

Sixty-four farmers appealed decisions on the Farm Improvement Scheme, 22 made appeals related to the Suckler Welfare Scheme (SWS) and 20 farmers appealed decisions referring to Installation Aid.

The appeals office highlighted several examples of appeals under each scheme, including that of a farmer who was penalised under the SWS for selling 30 calves at less than two weeks after weaning.

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The farmer appealed the decision on the grounds that the date for his local mart show and sale was brought forward by one week from its usual date.

The farmer sold his calves at the show and sale, even though they had been weaned less than two weeks before and had not been meal-fed for the required two weeks after weaning.

The appeal was disallowed because the farmer had, by signing up to the SWS, agreed to be bound by the scheme conditions.

In another case, a farmer appealed the Department of Agriculture's decision to refuse grant aid for a slurry tank under the Farm Waste Management Scheme.

Construction of the tank began and was finished before written approval was received from the Department of Agriculture. The farmer told an inspector that he thought work could start once he had received full planning permission from the county council.

However the farmer's appeal was disallowed because he did not follow the terms and conditions of the FWM scheme.

By December 31 last year, almost 40pc of appeals had been allowed or partially allowed by the Department of Agriculture.

Twenty-nine percent of appeals were disallowed, while the Department revised 19pc. Some 13pc of appeals were withdrawn, or deemed invalid or out of time.

Irish Independent