Farmers who feel they have been unfairly penalised after their land was burned should lodge an appeal with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM), a councillor has said.

Kerry Fianna Fáil councillor Michael Cahill contacted Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue in relation to the withdrawal or reduction of payments to farmers as a result of the burning of land.

He made the case that many farmers whose payments had been impacted had “neither hand, act or part in the burning on their land as fires had spread from other locations”.

“Farmers are being severely punished, in many cases up to 30, 40 and 50% and higher while being totally innocent of any crime and it is happening in too many cases right across our county,” the councillor said.

“We had cases adjoining the [Killarney] National Park, we had cases in Glenbeigh, there are ongoing cases in Boolteens and Farnes in Keel and there are ongoing cases in Cahersiveen and Waterville, just to name but a few.

“Innocent farmers are being penalised in the wrong and this must be addressed,” Cahill said.


In response to the councillor, Minister Charlie McConalogue outlined that land which has been burned is not eligible for payment under the Basic Income Support for Sustainability (BISS) Scheme.

He said that his department “actively investigates incidents of illegal burning, using satellite imagery and follow up verifications”.

The minister added that each scheme applicant who has been refused funding, is given the option of seeking a review of the decision.

He noted that in circumstances where lands are burnt during the closed period or in Natura areas without the consent of National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), but where the applicant has not been responsible for setting the fire or engaging another party to do so, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine may consider an application under “Force Majeure”.

Councillor Cahill called on the minister to “come to the assistance of hard pressed farmers”.

“Too many farmers are being treated unfairly and are being put under enormous financial pressures.

“Everyone knows that gorse fires can spread and travel for miles and it is crucial that farmers appeal their penalties,” he said.