25th November 2014
ICSA suckler chairman Dermot Kelleher has expressed outrage that 2,261 appeals cases under the 2013 LPIS review are still sitting on the shelves. “Farmers who appealed 2013 LPIS penalties are by definition those who have suffered significant penalties and who feel blackguarded by the whole process. They have been cut on their 2013 single payment, and are also losing money in the 2014 single payment. It simply isn’t acceptable that this has been allowed drag on for so long. Justice delayed is justice denied.”
“We have recently seen examples of how there can be significant errors regarding land eligibility and digitisation on the Department’s side such as the Kilcatherine Commonage on the Beara peninsula. It is clear therefore that all appeals should be treated with the utmost urgency.”
“There is a strong feeling among many farmers on the more marginal land that they are getting a raw deal. The vast majority of overclaim penalties relate to marginal land in the most disadvantaged areas in Ireland. We have a hugely disproportionate level of LPIS penalties in areas such as West Cork and Kerry. Yet in most cases, these farmers are farming the same system as they always have done. It is outrageous that they are being penalised, in some cases on land that is designated or was classified as a habitat under REPS. In these cases, even if it was financially viable to reclaim the land, it would be prohibited.
Farmers feel very let down by both the Minister and his Department and Brussels. They are baffled when they see tillage farmers being required to have 5% ecological focus area in the new CAP while farmers on marginal ground are being penalised for trees and rough grazing.”
“ICSA is demanding that all appeals should be fully processed by the end of 2014 and that no further penalties should be imposed on farmers who have an appeal process that is not finalised. ICSA is very disappointed that the Minister has not fought hard enough for marginal farmers at EU level. This is a travesty of justice whereby farmers are penalised for having marginal land, and ICSA is intent on continuing the battle on behalf of these farmers,” concluded Mr Kelleher.