ICSA president Patrick Kent has commented on the level of Land Parcel Identification System (LPIS) appeals submitted to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine by farmers unhappy with penalties imposed on them.

He said: “The news that 10,173 farmers have appealed LPIS review penalties illustrates the huge sense of injustice felt by farmers,” said Mr. Kent.  “Such a high level of appeals suggests that there is something inherently unfair in this process.”

According to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine Simon Coveney who was responding to a parliamentary question on the issue this week of the appeals received, some 3,852 have been finalised while total of 3,464 cases have been referred for verification visit, in order to establish the position on the ground.

To date, 179 cases have been referred to the Appeals Committee for consideration. According to the Minister the number of cases being referred will increase, as the number of verification visits finalised increases.

The LPIS review has resulted in just over €10 million of Single Payment Scheme (SPS) payments being withheld from approximately 33,000 farmers and a further €2.3 million in Disadvantaged Area payments in 2013.

The Minister commented that the appeals process he has introduced is both robust and comprehensive; in the first instance, applicants are entitled to have their case reviewed by submitting their appeal on the form provided by my Department. If they are not satisfied with the outcome of the review, they can appeal their case to the independent-chaired Land Eligibility Appeals Committee.

The Minister highlighted that the Department is bound, under EU Regulations, to maintain the accuracy the Land Parcel Identification System (LPIS) which underpins the direct payments.