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Payment delay for 7,000 farmers, warns the ICSA

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The ICSA president Patrick Kent

The ICSA president Patrick Kent

The ICSA president Patrick Kent

Direct payments to around 7,000 farmers are being held up because of appeals in relation to Land Parcel Identification System (LPIS) over-claims, the ICSA has warned.

The drystock farmer body said Single Farm Payments (SFP) and Disadvantaged Area Scheme (DAS) payments may be delayed until well into next year because of the backlog.

When contacted regarding the numbers of farmers involved a spokesman for the Department of Agriculture said accurate figures were not available. However, ICSA maintained the figure was in excess of 7,000.

"There has been no update on figures in relation to these appeals since June 24," said ICSA president Patrick Kent, pictured right.

"With only 3,854 cases finalised, that leaves more than 7,000 farmers in limbo, and it's likely that the cases which have been resolved were the less complicated ones," he claimed.

"Moreover, Minister Coveney makes no reference at all to the status of over 2,500 appeals that have neither been finalised nor referred for verification visit - where are these cases now? There is no way that this work can be completed by the end of 2014," Mr Kent added.

"The delay in processing these appeals is just not good enough," the ICSA leader said.

"With up to 100pc penalties on their single farm payment, farmers are at risk of serious financial difficulties. On top of this, we still don't know where we stand in relation to the retrospective aspect of the penalties.

"ICSA is now calling on Minister Coveney to clarify the position in relation to these appeals and to do everything in his power to expedite the process."

In response to a Dáil question on June 24, Minister Coveney revealed that 10,173 appeals had been received, of which 3,852 had been finalised, with a further 3,464 referred for verification visit.

A further 179 had been referred to the appeals committee for consideration and this figure was expected to increase in tandem with the number of verification visits finalised.

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