Tipp farmers joined with farmers from all over the country at a recent IFA protest about unfair fines, at the Department of Agriculture offices in Portlaoise,
IFA President John Bryan said that farmers are incensed that the Minister would allow his Department to increase penalties and hardship on farm families.
Since 2009 the level of these unfair penalties has increased five-fold from â‚¬780,000 to â‚¬4.7m in 2012. It is totally unacceptable for the Department to increase the level of inspection penalties and then attempt to hide the fact, he said.
Mr Bryan demanded a full and transparent explanation on the massive increase in inspection penalties imposed on farmers across the direct payment schemes.
This increase has occurred despite the fact that the Minister gave a commitment to farmers that the wet weather conditions in 2012 would result in a less onerous inspection regime taking account of the difficulties that farm families were facing.
Mr Bryan said â€œdespite IFAâ€™s concerns on fines the Department officials repeatedly stated that there was no significant increase in penalties. The latest Department data shows a massive increase in penalties and proves the Department were deliberately misleading farmers and the independent Charter Review Committee on the matter and confirmed IFAâ€™s suspicions at the time.â€
He said â€œthis is an extremely serious issue and must be fully addressed and resolved by the Minister for Agricultureâ€.
John Bryan said â€œthe Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney must follow through on his commitment for a New Charter of Rights for farmers with fewer inspections, greater tolerances and reduced penaltiesâ€.