Independent Agricultural appeals board needed – Kenny
Sinn Féin Agricultural spokesperson Martin Kenny TD today announced his intention to draft an amendment the Appeals Act 2001, which would allow for an independent appeals board for decisions arising from farm inspections.
Deputy Kenny said:
“There are issues arising from the High Court decision in the case of Michael O’Connor v Department of Agriculture and they point to the need to reform the inspection and appeals process.
“The court case found that neither the department nor the Agricultural Appeals Office followed proper procedures. It points to the need for an independent appeals board to replace the Agricultural Appeals Office and to be made up of stakeholders, including representatives of the farm organisations, which would be capable of holding the department to account.
“There are too many farmers feeling aggrieved about decisions which resulted in them being penalised and it is clear that changes have to be made so that when inspectors impose penalties, everyone concerned feels that they were justified.
“If the farmer feels that the penalties were unfairly imposed, then he or she has a right to a properly functioning procedure to make an appeal. The best way to do this is with an independent appeals board.”