Only 2% of 2014 Single Farm Payment penalty appeals were fully successful last year, according to figures released by the Department of Agriculture.
The Agriculture Appeals Office received 334 Single Farm Payment penalty appeals in 2014.
To date, nine appeals have been allowed, 29 appeals partially allowed and 122 appeals disallowed.
A further 78 appeals were revised by the Department, some times after significant involvement with the Appeals Office. While 44 appeals were not valid, out of time, or withdrawn some 52 appeals are ongoing.
The Department of Agriculture data shows that over €3.3m was deducted from Single Farm Payments in 2014, while €1.1m was deducted by the Department from Disadvantage Area Scheme payments.
The penalties affected some 3,800 farmers Single Farm Payments with almost 6,000 farmers Disadvantage Area Scheme payments seeing deductions in 2014.
As is expected Cork, due to its size, saw both the highest amount of Single Farm Payment deductions last year followed by Galway and Mayo. In terms of the Disadvantage Area Scheme payments Galway had the most deductions in 2014 followed by Mayo in 2014.
2015 is a ‘critical year’ for farm payment applications – Downey
This year is a critical year for applications for farm payments, according to IFA President Eddie Downey.
Speaking in the Oireachtas Agriculture Committee recently, Downey warned that farmers applications to the new Basic Payment Scheme will set the scene for the payments they are going to get for the next number of years.
“It will also set the scene for the amount of money we will draw down and bring into this country on an annual basis over the next number of years,” he said.
Highlighting to members of the Committee confusion among farmers regarding the new scheme Downey said it was a failure on the Department’s part to get the information, in full, out to farmers.
“It is critical that we have clarity on the information that farmers and consultants have in regards to making these applications.
“It is critical that we get these right so as we are not getting fines down the road,” he said
According to Downey, the only way farmers can be sure of that is to have the proper information available to them.