IFA Deputy President, Eddie Downey, has called on the Minister of Agriculture, Simon Coveney, to immediately instruct his Department to stop the imposition of unfair and severe penalties on farmers as a result of adjustments to land areas.
Eddie Downey pointed out the Department of Agriculture has confirmed to IFA that where farmers made adjustments to their land area in 2010 there will be no retrospective penalties for 2008 and 2009. This is in line with the concession that was made at that time to IFA. Farmers who made their adjustments to the land area at that time in line with this concession, should not be subject to retrospective penalties now.
Eddie Downey said that IFA is encouraging farmers to appeal the imposition of unfair penalties and have secured a commitment that appeals will not hold up this year’s payment.
The IFA Deputy President said that farmers have become very frustrated with the constant changing of their map and land areas by the Department of Agriculture. It is unacceptable that penalties are being imposed for issues which in many cases are very minor and are outside the farmers’ control.
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.