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Department appeals figures highlight flaws in Land Eligibility Procedures – Carthy

22 April, 2015 - by Matt Carthy MEP

Commenting today on a Parliamentary Question response received by his party colleague, Martin Ferris TD, Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West and member of the European Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, Matt Carthy, stated that the numbers indicate a need to reform the procedures.

Carthy said:

“The figures, revealed today on foot of a Parliamentary Question submitted by my colleague Martin Ferris TD, show that 10,918 appeals have been received by the Department of Agriculture in respect of the land eligibility review and 9,260 appeals have been processed to date.

“Of these, 4164 appeals have been held to be fully or partially successful, which amounts to 45% of the number processed to date.

“The fact that such a high number of appeals have been successful verifies what many farmers have been saying – the land eligibility procedure is flawed.

“These figures reveal that thousands of farmers have been forced through a drawn out appeals process with delayed payments as a result of an initial error by the Department of Education.

“Worryingly, there may be thousands of other farmers currently penalised under the Land Eligibility Review, who may not have submitted an appeal. It is estimated that up to 30,000 farmers have received disqualification letters under the review while only approximately 30% have chosen to appeal these decisions.

“It is time for action to be taken on this issue. I have consistently highlighted the need for reform of the inspection process at European level with the Commissioner Hogan, who is open to receiving a submission on the issue.

"In the meantime, I echo the calls of my colleague Martin Ferris last week in the Oireachtas Commitee for the establishment of an Independent Working Group to review the guidelines for land eligibility."

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