The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, TD, has said that he is establishing a Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Appeals Committee, comprising of Appeals Officers from the Agriculture Appeals Office in Portlaoise, chaired by an independent Chairman.
“I am very pleased to say that Mr Padraig Gibbons, Chairman of Connacht Gold, has agreed to chair the new Appeals Committee,” the Minister said, noting that Mr Gibbons, a farmer, has experience of all aspects of the agricultural sector, including the operation of the Disadvantaged Areas Scheme. Mr Gibbons runs a farm in Westport, is a prominent figure in Irish agriculture, being a former President of the Irish Cooperative Organisation Society (ICOS), the coordinating body for the cooperative movement and is currently a member of the ICOS Board. He is also a member of the Boards of Teagasc and the National Dairy Council.
Minister Coveney said that this new Appeals Committee would deal with appeals from farmers had availed of the opportunity to apply to his Department seeking derogation from one element of the stocking density requirements of the 2012 Disadvantaged Areas Scheme. It would operate in an independent, fair, comprehensive and efficient manner. “When proposals were being made to the EU Commission regarding changes to the Terms and Conditions governing the 2012 Scheme, I confirmed that provision would be made for those farmers adversely affected by the revised stocking density requirement to apply for derogation, on the basis of specific verifiable reasons”, the Minister explained, adding “As processing of each of the individual applications is well advanced, it is appropriate that provision be made for an independent appeals process under the Chairmanship of Mr Gibbons, in order that those whose applications are not successful, may be afforded the opportunity to appeal their individual decision”.