Denis Drennan, President of ICMSA.
Pic: Don Moloney

ICMSA set out “essentials” for independence of Agriculture Appeals Review Panel

Speaking in advance of addressing the Joint Committee for Agriculture, Food and Marine on the draft Bill to establish the Review Panel for Agriculture Appeals, ICMSA President Denis Drennan said that the independence of the Review Panel will be essential and that certain conditions were necessary if that independence was to be recognised and unquestioned.

“Every year, ICMSA deals with members who have sanctions imposed on them under various Department of Agriculture, Food & Marine schemes and who appeal the decision.  This is a hugely stressful process for many farmers with the loss of income amongst other issues and, in the context of the amendment being proposed, it is just essential that farmers have confidence in the new system and that the decisions taken are fair and reasonable. And to that end, ICMSA believes that several specific measures would greatly help instil that farmer confidence in the new regime”, said Mr. Drennan.

  • ICMSA believes it is essential that there is adequate farmer representation on the Review Panel. Under the proposed legislation, the Minister appoints members of the Review Panel, but there is no specific reference to farm representation on the panel.   There are a number of precedents in relation to farmer representation on review panels that have operated fairly and reasonably. It is simply essential that there is farmer representation on this critical Review Panel.
  • The Review Panel should have the power to set its own regulations while obviously respecting national and EU laws.   Under the draft Bill, the Minister may set down regulations and ICMSA considers this to be a retrograde step.   If the Review Panel is to be independent, it should have the power to set down its own rules and procedures and not be dictated to by the Minister of the day.
  • The Review Panel should have the power to elect its own Deputy Chairperson and not by Ministerial appointment, as proposed in the draft legislation.
  • A six-month timeframe for a decision on an appeal should be set down in the legislation.

“At a time when farmers need to feel confidence that agricultural appeals will be heard fairly and relatively promptly, we urge the Minister and the Department to take on board these proposals and thus set out the independence of the Review panel in a way that is incontrovertible. We badly need to rebuild farmer confidence in the whole system of Government interaction with farmers from its present unsustainably low level”, said the ICMSA President.

Ends        21 February 2024

Denis Drennan, 086-8389401

President, ICMSA.


Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758

ICMSA Press Office