Re­view un­der way on agri­cul­ture ap­peals

Irish Independent - Farming - - NEWS - LOUISE HO­GAN

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 ac­tre­view@agri­cul­ by close of busi­ness on Fri­day, Oc­to­ber 6.

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