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North's 3 MEPs meet Michelle Gildernew on disallowance issue

22 July, 2010 - by Martina Anderson MEP

Sinn Féin MEP, Bairbre de Brún along with the North's two other MEPs, Diane Dodds and Jim Nicholson today met Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Michelle Gildernew regarding the European Commission's decision on disallowance.

Speaking after the meeting, Bairbre de Brún MEP said: "Today's meeting was constructive and informative both in terms of hearing the actions taken by DARD to date and in terms of the approach now in dealing with this important issue.

“A disallowance of over €30m is disproportionate to any errors made and this point needs stressed to the European Commission. We discussed with the Minister and her senior officials today the history of how this has come about and also how we can now work together to ensure that matters are set right, that maps are set out accurately and that we avoid any future risk to the farm payment.

“The MEPs and the Executive need now to work together to stress the progress being made in bringing farmers’ claims and the maps on which they are based into compliance with EU farm rules. We will also need to argue that the European Commission's proposed disallowance of over €30 million is a disproportionate response, and to take this to the highest level if needs be.

“In the meantime, I would advise farmers to come forward voluntarily to DARD to have their maps checked.

“DARD has assured us that if farmers do come forward voluntarily and they have not been notified that they are to be inspected this year then there will be no penalties imposed on this year's claim for mistakes in the maps.” ENDS

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