IFA Deputy President Brian Rushe said the Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue must implement the recommendations of the Independent Review of the Department appeals system as a matter of urgency.
This review was carried and published in 2017. It includes a recommendation to establish a new appeals panel with an independent chairperson, and to include a farmer nominee.
IFA Deputy President Brian Rushe acknowledged the commitment in the recent Programme for Government to establish the panel, but he said action was needed to make it happen.
“Farmers do not perceive the current appeals office to be sufficiently independent. While we don’t agree with everything in the review, it was widely acknowledged as being a step forward and yet it continues to sit on the shelf,” he said.
Brian Rushe said the review group was established in response to genuine concerns about the appeals system. The review recognised the need for change, making several significant recommendations, including the establishment of an Agricultural Appeals Review Panel with an independent Chair.
“The Minister must ensure that the independent Agriculture Appeals Review Panel with farmer representation is established and the recommendations of the Committee are implemented without delay. Farmers can then have confidence in the appeals system, and that their cases will be dealt with fairly, impartially and efficiently,” he said.