Review under way on agriculture appeals
A LONG-AWAITED review of the legislation governing agricultural appeals has begun.
Concerns over inspections have been raised frequently over the years by farming bodies, with the spotlight on North Tipperary earlier this year.
Agriculture Minister Michael Creed said the programme for government had provided for a review of the Agriculture Appeals Act 2001 to “ensure the independence and efficiency of the office in dealing with appeals from farmers”.
The committee tasked with the review include Paud Evans, former principal officer at the Department of Agriculture; Padraig Gibbons, former chair of Connacht Gold, and chair Niamh O’Donoghue, former secretary general at the Department of Social Protection.
Mr Creed said he expected the report — including recommendations on the legislation, governing and the future of the Agriculture Appeals Office — to be on his desk by the end of this year.
“In order to ensure that the review is as comprehensive as possible, consultation will take place with relevant stakeholders,” said Mr Creed.
Concerns were raised earlier this year with members of the Oireachtas Agriculture Committee over issues with inspections in North Tipperary.
The Department pointed out that there were a higher percentage of inspections in the area than the national average but the penalties as a percentage of claim value were actually well below the national average.
The Department has said it recognises that farmers can become very concerned by inspections and it has been increasing efforts to explain the nature and process of inspections.
The Agriculture Appeals service is implemented through a separate executive office with its own premises and staff which operates independently of the Department.
Submissions can be sent by email to agricultureappeals firstname.lastname@example.org by close of business on Friday, October 6.