A farmer complained to the Ombudsman when the Department of Agriculture failed to approve his and his wife’s 2007 applications under the Farm Improvement Scheme (FIS).

This was just one of 129 complaints made to the Office of the Ombudsman in 2016 relating to the Department of Agriculture as revealed in the 2016 Annual Report this Wednesday.

The man was informed of the Department’s decision to refuse their applications and his right to appeal the decision only when his solicitor wrote to the Minster for Agriculture in 2011, according to the annual report.

The Department claimed that it received the applications after the closing date of 21 October 2007. However, the man said he had evidence that the applications were made in time.


The farmer provided evidence to the Agriculture Appeals Office to show that the applications had been hand-delivered to the Department’s regional office on 18 October 2007.

This included a statement from the Teagasc official who delivered the applications, details of the official’s travel claim in respect of the trip to the regional office on 18 October 2007 and a copy of the Teagasc daybook (which contained details of the applications delivered that day).

However, the Agriculture Appeals Office concluded that, on the balance of probabilities, the applications were received after the closing date because they were date stamped as received on 22 October 2007.


The Ombudsman examined the evidence and asked the Department to reconsider its decision as he felt that there was compelling evidence, including information provided by a State agency, to support the farmer’s claim that the applications had been made in time.

The Department reviewed its decision and agreed to pay the farmer and his wife €27,100 in respect of their applications.

Ombudsman Peter Tyndall said today at the launch of the report that his office works with public service providers to secure results for people who have been unfairly treated.

"We address the individual wrongs and stop them from happening in the future to others. This is the most effective way of improving public services for everyone."

Read more about farming cases examined by the Ombudsman this Thursday in the Irish Farmers Journal and this weekend at www.farmersjournal.ie.

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