20,000 get SFP overclaim letter
Almost 20,000 farmers have been charged with overclaiming on their land parcels for their Single Farm Payment (SFP) by Department of Agriculture officials, with some farmers charged up to €300 each for the infringement.
And there are more letters on the way, with officials just over halfway through the review of 950,000 land parcels in the LPIS database.
Responding to a parliamentary question posed by Sinn Féin's agriculture spokesperson Martin Ferris on Thursday, Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney said the LPIS review was "on target" to be finalised before the European Commission's deadline of December 15.
To date, 19,418 over-claim letters have been issued to farmers.
The Minister said that for 75pc of farmers, the over-claim would have no impact on payment and 18pc would suffer a "minimal payment reduction".
He said the average over-claim per farmer was less than €90. However, farmers who overclaimed enough to incur a penalty on top of their over claim face a bill of a little more than €300 each. He added that the figures were based on 2013 payments only and did not provide any details of previous years.
Meanwhile, Minister Coveney has announced the establishment of a review group to discuss a new Farmers Charter and Action Plan for 2014.
The review group, composed of Department officials and farmer representatives, will meet in January 2014 to agree standards of service and set payment targets for certain department schemes.