759 appeals under ANC scheme received by department of agriculture

759 appeals have been received by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine under the Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) scheme. Of those 759, 281 have been lodged from townlands in Co. Wexford – the highest in the country.

Minister Michael Creed confirmed this during Dáil discussions earlier this week after he was asked by Fianna Fáil’s James Browne to clarify the number of appeals the department had received.

The Wexford TD also asked the minister to confirm the number of appeals received from his native county; the number of distinct Co. Wexford townlands; and the number of distinct Co. Wexford townlands that have seen appeals lodged in relation to their level of constraint.

Townland loss in each county:
  • Carlow – 9; 
  • Cork – 26;
  • Donegal – 47;
  • Dublin – 1;
  • Galway – 9;
  • Kerry – 24;
  • Kildare – 13;
  • Kilkenny – 8;
  • Laois – 27;
  • Limerick – 2;
  • Louth – 28;
  • Mayo – 2;
  • Meath – 15;
  • Offaly – 52;
  • Tipperary – 79;
  • Waterford – 37;
  • Westmeath – 14;
  • Wexford – 281;
  • Wicklow – 61.

Meanwhile, regulations under the Rural Development Programme compelled EU member states to change their approach to the designation of land under the scheme; a subsequent review was undertaken.

During this week’s discussions the minister also pointed out that from 2019, eligible areas must instead be designated using a defined list of bio-physical criteria such as slope, soil texture, soil rooting depth, soil moisture and drainage.

‘Decisions and appeals’

Minister Creed went on then to highlight the fact that, following the review process, over 2,000 townlands were included for the first time while a further 700 or so were excluded.

He said an appeals process followed thereafter and he has appointed an independent appeals committee comprising three people chaired by Padraig Gibbons.

The committee has been given the task of handling ANC appeals from all over the country and I am satisfied that it has the relevant technical expertise to carry out this task.

Creed continued: “Further to the completion of the re-designation process, my department wrote to all farmers holding ANC lands advising them of the status of these lands under the 2019 ANC scheme.”

The minister went on then to point out that farmers were also advised of their right to appeal this position.

“Where a farmer has notified my department of their wish to make such an appeal, they have been provided with the relevant information in relation to the data underpinning the status of the townland, in order that a full appeal to the appeals committee can be based on full information,” he continued.

My department has received and replied to notifications of appeal in respect of 759 individual townlands – of which 281 were in Co. Wexford.

“To date, full appeals in respect of 271 townlands have been made to the appeals committee, of which 69 are in Co. Wexford; the Independent Appeals Committee is currently processing the appeals received.”