Farm Ireland

Friday 28 October 2016

West Cork farmers raise €100,000 for LPIS challenge

Martin Ryan

Published 20/04/2016 | 02:30

The West Cork farmers have raised the money to take a case to the High Court.
The West Cork farmers have raised the money to take a case to the High Court.

A group of West Cork farmers have raised a €100,000 fund to support a legal action being lodged in the High Court shortly against the Department of Agriculture's land parcel identification system (LPIS) review.

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The farmers set up the 'Disadvantaged Farmers Group' to challenge penalties they allege were "unfair" and "inequitable" and amounted to up to 100pc of their single farm payments.

The action could become a landmark case in challenging interpretations under the scheme.

ICSA West Cork chairman, Dermot Kelleher, confirmed they are proceeding with the action and "expect the papers to be lodged within a few weeks" following widespread financial support from farmers across the country.

More than €100,000 has been subscribed by farmers as a contingency fund towards the legal action.

Mr Kelleher said they feel penalties applied to farmers in the region were "unfair and totally unjustified" as he pointed out that 270 farmers in west Cork and Kerry had lost their entire entitlement for alleged infringement of the scheme conditions.

He said some farmers were penalised 100pc of their payment.

"But the information available to the farmer from the Department of Agriculture on the definition of eligible land was completely inadequate," he stated.

He claims that in the southwest the LPIS review was "particularly savage" on farmers, with many facing cuts on mountain type land in west Cork and Kerry.

The LPIS review was carried out by the Department following a charge from the EU Commission that Irish farmers had claimed areabased payments on what was considered 'ineligible' land, such as roadways, scrub and gorse.

The outcome of the review that saw the penalties applied to the 2013 payments were appealed by more than 10,000 farmers nationally.

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