Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 3 November 2021

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Farm Safety: Discussion

Mr. Brian Rohan:

I will refer back to my own story. Dad died in 2012 and the single farm payment was introduced in that year, but in the following year we had to transfer the farm into my name and so forth. My adviser applied for the basic payment that time in joint names because Dad and I were in joint partnership. It was applied for in the names of Liam Rohan, deceased, and Brian Rohan. About a month later, a Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine official called out to me and said it was time I put the herd number in my name. He asked me to sign the paperwork with him and I signed it. In June of that year, another official from the Department rang me and said I had applied for the basic payment scheme in a partnership with one person who is deceased. I said that was what my adviser did. Then he said that a month later I changed the name into my own name. I said that a departmental official came out and told me I needed to sign the paper. I said that I tend to do what I am told by departmental officials so as not to get in trouble. He said I should not have done that. I asked how would I know and asked him what the problem was. He said: "It means I have more paperwork to do". I said I was sorry that my father being killed in a farm accident caused him more paperwork.

That led to an ongoing battle. The official was to send out forms but they did not arrive. There were forms to be signed. He said that if I just had the cop on to fill up an ERAD 2 form, put the details on it and send it back, he would look after it and that would have been done. However, he was fairly ignorant about it. I had to make a call to a friend of mine in the Department and he said I needed to talk to a certain man. I rang him and he told me he would bring the form home with him that night and give it to me to fill it up. He rang me the next day to tell me it was resolved. I am used to dealing with the Department and perhaps meeting somebody who is not as efficient as somebody else. I thought about a widow who knows nothing about farming getting that type of answer from a guy on the telephone. She is bad enough as she is with her grief without having to deal with that type of hardship.

When it came to basic payment time the following October, I was seeking my 70% like everybody else. It did not come. We had to change bank accounts. Every week that I rang I was told I was cleared for payment, but when Tuesday came there was no payment. The following Tuesday there was no payment and I rang again. I have a fair amount of patience, but it was beginning to run out. Eventually, on the Saturday before Christmas that year I finally got my payment. I was told to ring Cavan because the Department did not have my bank details, but I had rung the Department a month previously and was told it had the bank details. Eventually, I got my 70% on the Saturday before Christmas. The disadvantaged area payment had not come in and I had to start the process again in January. It was February in the following year before I got my payment. I felt I had enough to do to run the farm from day to day and to deal with everything else without having to chase up what is my money.


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