Deputy Pearse Doherty has slammed the Government over the exceptionally high volume of Donegal farmers who have so far not received their Single-Farm or Disadvantaged Area payments due to inconclusive and unsuccessful satellite inspections having been carried out on their lands.
The Sinn Féin TD revealed that of the 484 individual cases which had been selected for satellite inspection in the county, some 274 have still yet to be processed by the Department of Agriculture.
The disclosure comes following a parliamentary question put down by Deputy Doherty.
“In order for Farm payments to be processed, it’s a requirement that a minimum number of eligibility checks are carried out by the Department to ensure that the area claimed on the farm application corresponds with the actual land being farmed; in order to do this, the Department carry out Ground and Remote Sensing Inspections each year.”
“In general, Remote Sensing inspections are often the chosen method of inspecting farm land as it doesn’t require a farm visit by inspectors and it reduces the burden on farmers who would otherwise be inconvenienced by Ground Inspections,” he said.
But because of an exceptionally high number of unsuccessful and inaccurate satellite inspections having been conducted by the Department of Agriculture as part of assessing farmers’ applications, less than have of the total number of cases chosen for inspection have been received and processed so far.
Deputy Doherty added that this failure has resulted in the majority of farmers from across the county who have been placed under inspection not receiving their farm payments – this is both disgraceful and unfair.”
“What this has resulted in is a situation where by an unacceptably high number of farmers, through absolutely no fault of their own, are now being forced to endure great hardship.
“Farmers here are facing financial uncertainty as they struggle to run their businesses in the absence of these much needed payments – this is the last thing this hard working community need, particularly now in the run up to Christmas.”
“I am now calling on Simon Coveney to act quickly and resolve this mess and for his Department to fast track the processing of these payments before the farming community here needlessly suffer any further.”