Department under pressure as late payments 'breach' Charter
Published 22/11/2016 | 10:00
The manner in which the Department of Agriculture has dealt with farmers awaiting direct payments was "not acceptable" and contravened the Farmers Charter of Rights, the INHFA has claimed.
The farmer body said there was mounting frustration among the thousands of hill and lowland farmers who were waiting on monies from the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) and Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC).
These complaints were echoed by Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice, who said he had been inundated with complaints from farmers regarding delays in direct payments.
Although €786m has been paid to 119,500 farmers under the BPS, and a further €186m to 86,200 ANC applicants, some 7,000 farmers have yet to receive their Basic Payment, and around 10,000 applicants are waiting on ANC monies.
In reply to questions from the Farming Independent the Department stated that payment delays generally related to entitlements issues, land errors such as over-claims/dual claims, commonage errors, and inspection outcomes.
The INHFA claimed mapping issues were delaying payments to around 4,000 farmers, with many of these cases relating to satellite inspections.
Vincent Roddy of the INHFA called on the Department to explain why satellite inspections which are delaying payments for thousands of farmers could not have completed earlier in the year.
He pointed out that under the Farmers Charter of Rights rules, farmers with mapping anomalies were to be notified of any problems by mid-September.