Almost 40% of land eligibility appeals successful

Some 10,918 appeals under the Land Parcel Identification Scheme (LPIS) have been received by the Department of Agriculture to date, according to the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney.

The Minister was responding to a parliamentary question from Sinn Fein TD Martin Ferris.

Deputy Ferris asked the Minister how many appeals have been received under the Scheme in 2013, 2014 and to date this year. He also asked the Minister about the number of appeals that have been successful.

Minister Coveney said that the appeals received in respect of the 2013 LPIS land eligibility review are recorded as a running total rather than on a year by year basis.

Of the 10,918 appeals received by the Department, 9,260 of these have been fully processed, with 1,658 outstanding, the Minister said.

Some 4,164 appeals have been fully or partially successful under the LPIS.

Deputy Ferris said that of almost 11,000 farmers that have appealed their land eligibility review, nearly 40% have been successful in their appeals.

Deputy Ferris said that this demonstrates that a problem existed in the original assessment of eligibility.

“The claw-back being demanded by the Department is causing hardship and stress to the more vulnerable farmers who cannot afford the penalties.

“The rate of successful appeals bears out my argument that many farmers claimed in good faith and according to the criteria of the department and are being punished retrospectively,” he said.

The Sinn Fein TD said that the time has come for the Government to consider granting an amnesty for retrospective penalties and to establish an independent working group to set down unambiguous and fair guidelines for farmers to avoid this situation arising again.