Tuesday, 15 January 2019
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Agriculture Scheme Appeals
849. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the agriculture appeals office is inundated with agriculture appeals seeking review from farmers that are waiting on responses; if his attention has been further drawn to the fact that in one instance an appeal has been with the office for over two years (details supplied); if this issue will be investigated with the appeals office; his plans to tackle this problem going forward; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1784/19]
I am aware that the number of requests for reviews of Appeals Officer decisions has increased in recent years. The Agriculture Appeals Act 2001 provides the legal basis for reviews of Appeals Officer decisions. The Act requires that, unless the request for the review concerns the submission of additional information that was not available at the time the Appeals Officer made the decision, the review must only be dealt with by the Director of Agriculture Appeals.
The independent Agriculture Appeals Office has confirmed that an appeal was submitted on 21 October 2016 by a representative for the persons named. A decision and a full analysis of the case was issued by an Appeals Officer to the appellant on 11 May 2017 following an oral hearing of the appeal.
The Appellant requested a review of the Appeals Officer's decision and this was received by the Agriculture Appeals Office in 2017. The request did not include additional information. The review of the Appeals Officer's decision will establish if the Appeals Officer made an error of fact or law in that decision and whether there is a need to revise the Appeals Officer's decision. Such requests are generally dealt with in order of receipt. A number of requests for reviews were received prior to the request concerned. I am advised that every effort is being made to finalise the review for the person named as soon as possible.