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Sinn Féin supports Ulster Farmers Union calls regarding Single Farm Payment

20 January, 2006

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has today supported the call of the Ulster Farmers Union in bringing the case over the impasse regarding the Single Farm Payment penalties due to duplicate field error to the EU Commission.

This was one of the many issues discussed at a meeting with the UFU last Friday, which Sinn Féin's spokesperson for Agriculture and Rural Development Michelle Gildernew MP MLA and Bairbre de Brún MEP attended.

Ms de Brún stated: -

"Sinn Féin supports the efforts of the UFU to have this problem highlighted in Europe through derogation on penalties for duplicate claims."

"Many farmers are currently enduring the threat of very significant financial penalties on their Single Farm Payment, due to unintended errors with their applications, for the most part in cases where both the active farmer and the landlord have inadvertently claimed for payment on the same fields."

"Thousands of applications have been affected and the matter needs to be resolved immediately and without delay."

Ms Gildernew commented: -

"Ireland has a unique conacre system, which has lead to huge difficulties for both farmers and land owners, with the result that as many as 4000 Single Farm Payment claims could be affected, with the some farmers loosing a significant amount of the 2005 Single Farm Payment."

"Small farmers are often the worst affected, because this duplication query on their farm can comprise a large percentage of their overall claim and in fact may lead to a much larger penalty, or in the worst case scenario cancellation of the entire payment. Farmers should not face these considerable financial penalties given that the system was new and extremely complicated and that the error was made through no direct malice on their part." ENDS

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