Farm organisations react to ‘unfair’ BPS penalty threat
The Department warned farmers this week that inclusion of illegally burnt land in the 2017 Basic Payment Scheme application may result in penalties. However, the IFA has called for a process to be established to allow for appeal.
“This is a totally unfair situation,” IFA hill chairman Pat Dunne said. “There must be due process that allows farmers to maintain payments where fires damaged their land through no fault of their own. Unless such a process is put in place, farmers with burnt land are being unfairly victimised and have no way to achieve a fair assessment of their situation.”
He added farmers would face financial loss if they were to take out lands burnt through no fault of their own.
The Basic Payment is too important an income source to be raided in this manner
Meanwhile, the Irish Cattle and Sheep Association (ICSA) questioned the legality of penalties, particularly when there is no proof that the farmer was guilty of causing the fire.
“It is abundantly clear that the rapid spread of fires in recent weeks means that the majority of farmers had no hand, act or part in the burnin,g and were in fact, victims of collateral damage caused by the carelessness or recklessness of a few,” said ICSA rural development chairman Seamus Sherlock. “In fact, we have no proof that any farmer deliberately started a fire.”
He said it “is too important an income source to be raided in this manner”.