Sinn Féin calls for amnesty on LPIS fines
Sinn Féin has called for an amnesty for farmers who have had penalties imposed under the Department of Agriculture's review of the Land Parcel Identification System (LPIS).
The party's agriculture spokesman, Martin Ferris, said the high percentage of successful appeals of fines imposed as a result of the review suggested that problems existed with the original determination of eligibility.
"IThe Department of Agriculture has confirmed that nearly 11,000 farmers have appealed [the findings of] their land eligibility review," Deputy Ferris said.
"Of these, nearly 40pc have been successful in their appeals, which demonstrate that a problem existed in the original assessment," he added.
"The rate of successful appeals bears out my argument that many farmers claimed in good faith and according to the criteria of the Department and are being punished retrospectively. Now the time has come for the government to consider granting an amnesty for retrospective penalties and to establish an independent working group to set down unambiguous and fair guidelines for farmers to avoid this situation arising again."