Farm Ireland

Wednesday 18 October 2017

Kilkenny farmer will challenge Dept's €1,700 SFP deductions

Kevin Connolly from Knocktopher, Co KiIkenny, is pictured with his single farm payment
Kevin Connolly from Knocktopher, Co KiIkenny, is pictured with his single farm payment
Caitriona Murphy

Caitriona Murphy

More than €1,700 was deducted from Kevin Connolly's single farm payment (SFP) by the Department of Agriculture as part of its controversial land parcel eligibility review.

Mr Connolly, who operates a dairy farm at Coolmore, Knocktopher, Co Kilkenny, is adamant that he is going to challenge the clawback.

"It's not actually about the money, it's about the principle of the thing," he insisted.

"If I'm wrong, I'll hold my hands up and admit it but I never set out to defraud anyone and I'm just not going to accept this."

"I submitted my claims with maps and, like many other farmers, got help from Teagasc advisers to do it. Now the Department tells me my maps were wrong. It's like one arm of the state doesn't know what the other one is doing, it's a complete joke," he maintained.

"Now I have to either accept what the Department tells me or submit evidence to the contrary.

"Wouldn't it have made a lot more sense to send out the reference map earlier than now?"

The farmer has had €1,742.29 deducted from his SFP for areas of scrub, trees and roadways.

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A spokesman for the Department of Agriculture insisted that farmers had been warned "every single year" not to claim on the gross area of land parcels and to make deductions for ineligible features.

"Some farmers didn't do that and using the new photography, ineligible areas are shown up very clearly." The land parcel review is expected to result in €15-20m being clawed back from farmers.

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