Man refunded almost €4,000 by Department after dispute over forestry grant
A man who complained to the Ombudsman about the Forest Service’s decision to raise an overclaim in relation to a forestry grant has been refunded.
Eighteen years after the original grant application, the man sold some of the land for which the grant was paid to the ESB for the construction of power lines.
The Department recalculated the amount payable to the man for the remaining area under a new digitised method for measuring land.
Using this new method, the Department calculated that the man had over claimed the amount of land eligible for the grant in his original application.
This gave rise to an overpayment which the Department recouped back to the date of the original claim and charged interest by way of netting (withholding payments due) until the debt was repaid in full.
The Ombudsman established that the reduction in eligible land had not been calculated properly as the Department had not adjusted it to properly take account of the area of the plantation removed by the ESB.
The Department agreed to review its decision and revised it in line with the Ombudsman’s examination.
The man was refunded the sum of €3824.41 recouped by the Department.