Department claws back over €380,000 in over claim penalties so far in 2016
So far in 2016 the Department of Agriculture has clawed back over 380,000 in land eligibility penalties from over 1,500 farmers Basic Payments.
The figure which were released by the Department following a parliamentary question from Fianna Fail's Charlie McConalogue is down significantly on the €1.2m clawed bank in 2015 from 1,700 farmers.
The fall comes on the back of new measures which were announced in 2016 by way of a Preliminary Checks and Revised Penalty Regime which assisted in the reduction of penalties for farmers.
The preliminary check, which is exclusive to applicants who submit their application using the departments online system, notifies applicants of an overclaim/dualclaim or overlap error on their application and allows them a window of up to 35 days in which to rectify this error without penalty.
In 2016 over 5,000 notifications issued under the Preliminary check system.
A revised penalty regime was also introduced in 2016 which reduced the penalty imposed where an overclaim of between 3 and 20% occurred from twice the difference of the area overclaimed to 1.5 times the difference now where the overclaim exceeds 3% or 2 hectares.
Furthermore where the area overdeclared is over 3% and not greater than 10% the penalty is further reduced to .75 times the difference where it's the first time the herdowner has been penalised under the new rule.
These measures the Department expect, will contribute to the reduction of errors and the penalties applied.