A farmer who was thrown out of the GLAS scheme by the Department was reinstated after he appealed his case to the Ombudsman last year.
In his annual report, Ombudsman Peter Tyndall outlined the case of Adam, a farmer who joined the five-year GLAS scheme in 2017. The scheme required Adam to spread slurry using LESS methods.
In year one, Adam used LESS methods but he did not submit the relevant annual return. The Department sent him a number of reminders but he did not respond. The Department then expelled him from the scheme.
Adam complained that he had receipts to show that he had undertaken the required work in 2017, 2018 and 2019. He claimed his only error was not submitting his annual return on time.
The Ombudsman considered the various penalties under GLAS and found that, in Adam’s case, the Department had confused two penalties.
It had incorrectly imposed a penalty on Adam for failing to stick to the scheme’s rules. Instead, it should have issued him with a late submission penalty.
The Ombudsman said that Adam should not have been removed from the scheme and asked the Department to reconsider its decision.
The Department allowed Adam back into and agreed to pay the farmer for most of the work he completed between 2017 and 2019. This amounted to approximately €10,500. While Adam had spread slurry in 2017, 2018 and 2019, the Department penalised him for being late in submitting his returns for those years, and deducted €240 from his payment.