Written answers

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Department of Agriculture and Food

Grant Payments

9:00 am

Photo of Michael RingMichael Ring (Mayo, Fine Gael)
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Question 493: To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the way an overpayment has arisen in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Mayo; and the reason this person was only notified of this overpayment in October 2010 even though it relates to the 2007 single payment scheme [37346/10]

Photo of Brendan SmithBrendan Smith (Minister, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food; Cavan-Monaghan, Fianna Fail)
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The Department's records indicate that in 2007, the amount of nitrogen from livestock manure applied to land on the holding of the person named above (including that deposited by animals) was 233.23 kgs per hectare, which exceeded the limit of 170 kgs per hectare set down in the Nitrates Regulations.

My Department wrote to the person named on two occasions in 2008 notifying him that he had exceeded the Nitrogen limit for 2007, and asking him if there were any reasons why he believed the total Nitrogen from livestock manure applied to his lands was not above the 170 kg limit.

As no response was received to either of these two letters, the penalty was imposed. The person named was notified on 18 June 2010 and was advised of his right of appeal. There is no record of any appeal having been received. He was subsequently notified of the actual amount involved on 23 September 2010.

It was open to the person named to appeal this deduction, within a three month time limit from day of final decision (18 June 2010), by letter to the Agriculture Appeals Office, Kilminchy Court, Portlaoise, Co. Laois. The Agriculture Appeals Office is an independent body established to provide an appeals service to farmers in respect of decisions of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food relating to entitlements under the various schemes available.

While the three month deadline has passed, a case can still be made to the Agriculture Appeals Office for acceptance of a late appeal. In making the appeal a person must include all the facts and contentions upon which they intend to rely, together with such documentary evidence that they may wish to submit in support of an appeal.

Photo of Finian McGrathFinian McGrath (Dublin North Central, Independent)
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Question 494: To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the reason for non-payment of disadvantaged area payment for 2009 to a person (details supplied) in County Roscommon and the reason for refusal to join the REP scheme [37347/10]

Photo of Brendan SmithBrendan Smith (Minister, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food; Cavan-Monaghan, Fianna Fail)
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An application under the 2009 Disadvantaged Areas Scheme was received from the person named on 22 March 2009. The Terms and Conditions governing the Scheme require, inter alia, that applicants maintain a minimum stocking density on their holding of 0.15 livestock units per forage hectare declared, for at least three consecutive months, during the calendar year of application. However, where the holding of an applicant is identified as not meeting this minimum requirement, the person in question is invited to submit evidence of satisfactory stocking i.e. Flock Register, Horse Passports or details of a REPS or Commonage Framework Plan, which provides for a lower stocking level. My Department records currently do not show the person named as having achieved the minimum stocking density. On satisfaction of this requirement, the application can be further processed with a view to payment at an early date. There is no record of a REPS application from the person named.

Photo of Michael RingMichael Ring (Mayo, Fine Gael)
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Question 495: To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the reason an appeal was refused when substantive evidence was provided to support the appeal (details supplied); if the decision to disallow the appeal can be reviewed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37358/10]

Photo of Brendan SmithBrendan Smith (Minister, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food; Cavan-Monaghan, Fianna Fail)
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This case was adjudicated on by an Appeals Officer and a decision issued on 7th October 2010. The herdowner was deemed ineligible for the Installation Aid Scheme as he did not have sufficient owned/leased land to generate at least 20 income units within 12 months of set up. This is one of the fundamental requirements of eligibility as outlined in the terms and conditions of the Scheme. The herdowner was given the option of referring the matter to the Office of the Ombudsman. Alternatively, if the herdowner is satisfied that a mistake had been made in relation to the law or the facts of the case he may request the Director of the Agriculture Appeals Office to revise the decision.

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