Commenting on the further clarification from the Department of Agriculture, Food & Marine regarding eligible land in Designated Areas, the Chairperson of ICMSA’s Farm and Rural Affairs Committee, Patrick Rohan, said that while the clarification and explanation by the Department is welcome, there is still huge uncertainty and risks for the farmers with such land and the Department need to go further and categorically tell the farmers concerned whether their land is eligible or not as the penalties being imposed on farmers are simply too great for any uncertainty or ambiguity to apply.
“The reality is that it is NPWS – a Government agency – that imposed this designation on the farmers and we are perfectly within our rights to insist that the Government agencies involved provide full clarity to the farmers involved on the straightforward question of whether their land will be accepted as eligible or not. For too long, the risk has been borne by the farmers door and we now need to see a change in attitude where clear, objective and unambiguous guidance and certainty is provided to the farmers in question. The people who called the eligibility of the land into question are the people who must provide the answer”, said Mr. Rohan.
Equally important, according to Mr. Rohan, said, was that while implementation of Article 32 was applied in 2015 and again in 2016, there were many farmers penalised unfairly in 2014 and previous years for land eligibility issues that are now deemed acceptable and it is absolutely essential that these cases are revised immediately and penalties refunded where appropriate. “This matter was discussed at a Hen Harrier meeting this week and it is our firm view that the Department must review all such cases where farmers with eligible land were penalised for designation-related eligibility issued with the penalties refunded immediately where the original eligibility issue is now clarified and would not be deemed an infringement. ICMSA knows of several individuals farming very difficult land who suffered severe penalties and, in the interest of fairness, their cases need to be revisited and refunds made where appropriate “, concluded Mr. Rohan.
Ends 3 March 2017.
Patrick Rohan, 087-6253506,
Chairperson, ICMSA Farm & Rural Affairs Committee
Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758
ICMSA Press Office