Farm­ers up in arms over ‘un­be­liev­able’ ANC de­ci­sions

Irish Independent - Farming - - NEWS - MARTIN RYAN

MORE than 1,000 ap­peals to the ANC re­view have now been lodged with the Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture.

And some farm­ers have hit out at the find­ings of the re­view of the Ar­eas of Nat­u­ral Con­straints (ANC) — for­merly the Dis­ad­van­taged Ar­eas scheme — as “un­be­liev­able”.

Farm­ers on the Of­faly-Tip­per­ary bor­der have claimed that the area had been black­listed in the ANC process. Coun­cil­lor Joe Han­ni­gan said peo­ple in the area do not ac­cept the de­ci­sions as some of the “worst land” has been ex­cluded.

Mean­while, farm­ers whose hold­ing or part of their lands are within the 699 town­lands re­moved from the scheme in the re­view are to be given the rea­sons they failed to qual­ify in the com­ing weeks.

It is un­der­stood that the ap­peals lodged in­clude a num­ber of landown­ers never in­cluded in the scheme, who be­lieve that they should qual­ify.

Former Aurivo chair Padraig Gib­bons has been ap­pointed by Min­is­ter Michael Creed to chair a three-mem­ber re­view panel which will in­clude a former se­nior of­fi­cial of the Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture and a re­tired Tea­gasc tillage ad­vi­sor.

IFA Ru­ral Devel­op­ment sec­re­tary Gerry Gun­ning said that it is hoped the ap­peal process will be com­pleted be­fore the au­tumn.

While 3,150 town­lands have been des­ig­nated for the first time, 699 town­lands were re­moved in the re­view.

“In each case, the re­view will have to be car­ried out on a whole town­land ba­sis, ir­re­spec­tive of the num­ber of farm­ers within the town­land who lodge an ap­peal, and the out­come of the ap­peal will ap­ply to all farm­ers in the town­land,” he said.

Farm­ers be­ing re­moved from ben­e­fit will qual­ify for 80pc of their pre­vi­ous ben­e­fit un­der the scheme for 2019, re­duc­ing to 40pc in 2020 and zero in 2021, un­less they are re­in­stated un­der the ap­peal process.

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