Some 179 farmers had their Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) payment cut in 2020 due to claiming for ineligible features and burned land, among other penalties.

Some 231 land parcels and 1,705ha of land were identified as burned during the closed period, a Department of Agriculture spokesperson told the Irish Farmers Journal.

“It should be noted that not all of this area would have been subject to a financial penalty,” the spokesperson said.

In total last year, the Department of Agriculture clawed back €218,663 from farmers, with 34 farmers in Kerry penalised to the tune of €42,698.

Thirteen farmers in Louth were hit with financial penalties of €37,551, 14 in Cork were penalised €31,207 and 34 farmers in Carlow were fined €29,198.

Gorse fires

Last weekend, fires services in Wicklow and Laois were called to upland areas to bring gorse fires under control.

On Sunday night, fire crews responded to a fire on Scarr Mountain in Wicklow, with units from Greystones, Rathdrum and Tinahely spending several hours bringing the flames under control.

Earlier on Sunday, fire crews in Laois attended a large gorse fire on Conlawn Hill near Ballyfin.

It is an offence under Section 40 of the Wildlife Act 1976 (amended by Section 46 of the Wildlife Act 2000) to burn any vegetation on any land between 1 March and 31 August.

The Department of Agriculture and Department of Heritage have warned farmers about the consequences of burning land.