Government needs to provide amnesty for retrospective penalties on land eligibility
Sinn Féin spokesman for agriculture Deputy Martin Ferris today highlighted the amount of farmers who have had to appeal their land eligibility, under the Land Parcel Eligibility review.
Deputy Ferris said:
“In response to my parliamentary question, the Department of Agriculture has confirmed that nearly 11,000 farmers have appealed their land eligibility review.
“Of these, nearly 40% have been successful in their appeals, which demonstrate that a problem existed in the original assessment of eligibility.
“The claw-back being demanded by the department is causing hardship and stress to the more vulnerable farmers who cannot afford the penalties.
“The rate of successful appeals bears out my argument that many farmers claimed in good faith and according to the criteria of the department and are being punished retrospectively.
“Now the time has come for the government to consider granting an amnesty for retrospective penalties and to establish an independent working group to set down unambiguous and fair guidelines for farmers to avoid this situation arising again.”