Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture, Matt Carthy TD, has asked the Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine to examine Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) penalties the DAFM applied to farmers whose land has been affected by flood or fire.
In recent weeks, the DAFM reaffirmed its decision to penalise farmers whose land was impacted by a fire that began on state lands in Killarney National Park. Gardaí found no evidence of criminal involvement.
Earlier this year, the department informed farmers in the surroundings of Lough Funshinagh in Co. Roscommon that they may face similar penalties as a result of rising water levels in the lake.
Matt Carthy said:
“These two recent cases have highlighted how vulnerable farmers are to events entirely outside their control.”
“While anyone involved in business will be familiar with various market, and indeed natural or climate associated risks, farmers are unique in that the financial penalties imposed on them are entirely political in nature.”
He called on Minister McConalogue to “explore any and all options” to resolve these issues. He said this must include engaging with the European Commission to find a solution for those affected farmers this year.”
“In the medium-term, he must explore what flexibility the new CAP will offer in this regard.”
The TD believes the Oireachtas Agriculture Committee can also play a proactive role in finding a resolution to this issue.
Furthermore, he has written to the committee Cathaoirleach requesting that the Minister provide a briefing on the issues involved.
He has called on the committee to invite the relevant department officials, and representatives of those impacted, to the meeting to outline their proposals and experiences.
Farmers facing penalties for fire ‘they had no hand, act or part in’
The Irish Beef & Lamb Association (IBLA) issued after farmers received penalties following a wildfire earlier this year. A spokesperson shared the group’s views in this article.