Speaking in the Dáil on Tuesday, Sinn Féin TD for Sligo-Leitrim Martin Kenny expressed concern at the recent announcement by Minister of State for Agriculture Andrew Doyle that farmers with burned land must remove it from their payments applications or face penalties.

“Many of these farmers spent the past couple of weeks trying to put out the fires and they fought very hard to try to deal with this situation,” said Deputy Kenny, arguing that in most cases the land was burned in fires caused by others.

“They are the victims of these fires yet we find that the Department is proposing to penalise them for it,” he added, calling on An Taoiseach to guarantee that no penalties would apply in these cases.

Enda Kenny agreed that farmers went out of their way to deal with the fires and their consequences and said:

“For those who have been victimised by these acts of arson, if that is what they were, we cannot expect them to have the State suddenly say, ‘You are responsible for this yourself’.”

In those cases, he added: “I think it is an issue that needs to be looked at with some degree of compassion and consideration.

"It is a valid point and we will consider it very carefully.”

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