Senator Paddy Burke has said that any appeals on the penalties applied to BPS payments over burnt land should be fast-tracked and the appeals process should not be complicated.

Burke told the Seanad last week that farmers can lose their money unless the appeal is successful and, even at that, they have to go through the rigours of the appeals process.

“This brings great hardship on lots of farmers. It’s most unfair that a fire can be started on one farm of land and spread to the next farm of land, and then all farmers are penalised.

“The penalty is no payment on the burnt land, plus a penalty on that farmers remaining land."


Senator Burke said only the person who started the fire should be responsible and farmers that have had their land burnt should not have to appeal.

He was adamant that it was a big issue, which the National Parks and Wildlife Service has a huge part to play in.

He said some farmers appealed the decision and the Department retracted the penalty on the remaining land, but still withheld payment on the burnt land.


Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue, in a statement read on his behalf by TD Peter Burke in the Seanad, advised that farmers should appeal any decision taken regarding the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) when fires occur through no fault of the applicant.

Burke said that it should be noted that the land is only ineligible in the year the burning took place and that land eligibility in subsequent years is not impacted.

“It is specified in 2021 that land burnt during the closed season from 1 March to 31 August is not eligible for payment under the BPS.

“As required under EU regulations, all requirements under the BPS are subject to robust administrative checks prior to payment.

“Only valid applications under the BPS that fully comply with the requirements of the EU legislation are paid.

“The main element of these administrative checks is an area of assessment, which is achieved by using the land parcel identification system.

"These administrative checks are critical in ensuring that the Department meets the rigorous audit requirements at EU and national level," he said.

“Should an applicant disagree with the Department decision of any review, they have a further right of appeal in each case, to an independent agricultural appeals office, and all circumstances are taken into account when considering this appeal," he said.