Second €550m SFP begins but fines loom large
The second tranche of Ireland's €1.2bn Single Farm Payment (SFP) is being posted out to farmers' bank accounts this week.
Over €600m from the SFP, along with an additional €50m for REPS and AEOS environmental schemes will be paid out by the Department of Agriculture over the next seven days.
However, the prospect of up to €20m in over-claim fines looms large as the Brussels imposed deadline of December 15 approaches.
Irish authorities must have a review of all Land Parcel (LPIS) claims for the last seven years completed by this date or face massive penalties.
Meanwhile, an amnesty for farmers from these retrospective fines on their SFP has now been sought by Ireland West MEP Jim Higgins.
Mr Higgins has written to Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Ciolos calling for all penalties to be put on hold.
Mr Higgins called on Commissioner Ciolos to allow all land parcel charges to apply to the new CAP rather than the current regime.
Mr Higgins insisted the move to impose retrospective fines on farmers undermined the CAP and farmer confidence.