IFA Deputy President Eddie Downey has called on the Minister of Agriculture Simon Coveney to immediately intervene with his Department to stop the imposition of unfair and severe penalties on farmers as a result of adjustments to land areas. He pointed out farmers were advised by the Department of Agriculture to make these adjustments when they applied for their SFP.
Mr Downey said farmers are incensed that they were told by the Department of Agriculture at various meetings to make accurate adjustments to their area when they were making their SFP application, so as to avoid penalties. Now farmers are being told that they will be penalised and that the penalties will be retrospective and applied over a number of area based schemes.
The IFA Deputy President said that the unacceptable level of penalties must be stopped by Minister Coveney. “It now seems that the Department of Agriculture is hell bent on issuing penalties, despite the fact that farmers have done everything in their power to get their applications as accurate as possible.”
Mr Downey said that Minister Coveney has shown himself to be totally indifferent to the plight of how the Department are penalising farmers. He said, “The recent revelation that penalties have increased five-fold, over a 4-year period, is a further illustration of the draconian inspection and penalty regime now in place”.
Eddie Downey said farmers expect Minister Coveney to immediately intervene and resolve this issue. He said a fair and more transparent system of inspections and tolerances must be put in place.