16th September 2014
ICSA rural development chairman Billy Gray has warned Minister Coveney that retrospective LPIS overclaim penalties cannot be contemplated until the appeals process is finalised.
“ICSA is concerned that the large volume of LPIS overclaim penalty appeals cannot be dealt with by the end of this year, but we are unable to get any information from the Department as to the current standing of these appeals,” said Mr. Gray. “Last June, the Minister reported that of 10,173 appeals, only 3,854 cases had been finalised. At that time, a further 3,464 had been referred for verification visit. At what stage of the process are those 3,464 cases now? What about the cases that had neither been finalised nor referred for verification visit – has any progress been made on these? How many verification visits have taken place since June? Most importantly, when will this process be complete? ICSA has put all these questions to the Department, but as yet, no information has been forthcoming.”
“There are real farmers behind these figures, many of whom are in disadvantaged areas and already struggling to make a living,” continued Mr. Gray. “Until these appeals, some of which may involve 100% penalties, are resolved, farmers don’t know what they have to plan for. ICSA is calling on Minister Coveney to clarify the situation immediately and to guarantee farmers that no retrospective penalties will be applied until the entire appeals process is finalised.”