Payment penalties vary by up to 400pc nationwide
SFP and DAS fines FOUR times higher in Waterford than Kildare or Cavan
An independent review of the entire farm payment system has been demanded following the revelation that penalties varied by 400pc between counties last year.
Over 6,000 farms suffered penalties totalling over €4.5m from their Single Farm Payments (SFP) and Disadvantaged Area Scheme (DAS) last year.
The cuts varied from county to county, with Waterford farmers suffering the heaviest average Single Farm Payment penalty of €1,867 - four times the average penalty in counties such as Kildare and Cavan.
The DAS penalty average of €265 in Louth and Kerry was 2.5 times bigger than the €120 average in counties Westmeath, Longford, Waterford and Dublin.
The likelihood of farmers being hit with penalties also doubled from county to county.
For example, SFP applicants in the southeast counties of Waterford, Kilkenny and Tipperary, along with Clare, Wicklow and Dublin were twice as likely to incur SFP fines as those in Donegal, Sligo, Roscommon, Leitrim, Longford, Louth, or Offaly.
However, the range was relatively narrow, from 2pc of applicants penalised in Longford, up to 4.4pc in Wicklow.
The percentage of farmers getting penalised in DAS was almost double this, even though the actual penalties were much smaller.