Minister says Department is not ‘specifically’ seeking affidavits from farmers over wild fires
The Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed has said his Department is not specifically seeking affidavits from farmers who have had their single farm payments held up due to mountain fires.
However, he did say that should an affidavit be submitted, it will be considered accordingly.
Almost 100 'illegal' wild fires have been notified to the European Commission by Irish Wildlife Trust.
The IWT presented to the EC a table of 97 wild fires between the March 24 and May 22, 2017 from 19 counties in the republic (Kerry, Cork, Mayo, Galway, Waterford, Wicklow, Donegal, Louth, Carlow, Limerick, Wexford, Dublin, Tipperary, Sligo, Roscommon, Kildare, Cavan, Monaghan and Leitrim) which they deem illegal.
It says 39 of these (40%) were within sites designated under the Natura 2000 network (Special Areas of Conservation or Special Protection Areas under the EU’s Habitats/Birds Directive).
Where land has been burned between the period of 1 March and 31 August of any given year, it is not eligible for payment under the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS).
Responding to questioning from Roscommon – East Galway TD Michael Fitzmaurice this week the Minster said his Department actively investigates incidents of illegal burning using satellite imagery.
“Applicants who do not remove ineligible features, such as land burned during the period 1 March to 31 August, from their BPS applications, may have an over claim(s).