ICSA suckler chairman Dermot Kelleher has welcomed a Department of Agriculture booklet on land eligibility, but says farmers still need areas to be clarified.
There is confusion over density of rushes per hectare, and the meaning of “within the parcel or red-lined area” to define lands eligible for supports.
The department issued the booklet in response to a long-running controversy over fines for land-parcel identification system overclaims, relating to land parcels which farmers claimed as marginal, but which were then assessed as ineligible for EU eco-focused supports.
“ICSA is calling for refunds for all farmers who have been penalised on foot of so-called overclaims under the land-parcel identification system review due to the uncertainty around ineligible area,” said Dermot Kelleher.
He said that the booklet has 29 pages to define land eligibility, versus the department’s three-page document.
“When you see the level of difficulty in defining whether marginal land is eligible or not, it is a complete travesty that a 20% overclaim leads to a 100% penalty or that a 3% overclaim leads to a treble penalty,” he said.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved