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Gildernew briefs MEPs on £28.5 million Farm subsidy

25 November, 2008 - by Martina Anderson MEP

Sinn Féin Agriculture Minister Michelle Gildernew MP, MLA has met local MEPs to brief them on threat of £28.5million disallowance.

Following her meeting with Bairbre de Brún MEP and Jim Nicholson MEP today, the Minister said:

"It is important that our representatives in Brussels understand exactly what this threat of disallowance means, to ensure that they can fully support our case in Brussels. I am grateful to the MEPs for the opportunity to brief them and to explain why the threatened disallowance is unjustified. The European Commission has proposed this disallowance on the basis of subsidy being claimed on ineligible land. In their opinion, my Department has favoured farmers in adjustment to claims and entitlements, and in the application of penalty."

The Minister also outlined the specifics of the disallowance to the MEPS, as she explained:

"Some of these matters are about the interpretation of regulations. As it is required to do, my Department seeks to comply with regulation. Maps will always need to be corrected as change occurs but where it finds that ineligible area has been claimed in previous years the Department recovers the relevant subsidy amount. My Department is putting forward its case to have this threat removed and any representations our MEPS can make in support are welcome." ENDS

Note to Editors

  1. The threat of £28.5million disallowance arises from an audit visit in July 2006.
  2. Disallowance is funded from national budgets and not by scaling back payments to farmers. Thus 2008 payment will commence in December as scheduled.
  3. If claiming of ineligible land is detected in an individual the Department reduces the claim and, if appropriate, seeks recovery in respect of earlier years.

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