Written Answers. - Area Aid Criteria.

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

217 Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry the current position in relation to penalties for a farmer who has 50 hectares in total and declares 45 for the purposes of area aid, has ten livestock units and, if after an examination due to the exclusion of expanses of bare-rock, his Department decides that the farmer only has 35 hectares of land; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8703/96]

In the helpsheet which accompanied the 1996 area aid application form, intending applicants are advised, in the case of each parcel of forage area which they intend to declare, to deduct from the gross area of that parcel any non-utilisable areas including expanses of bare rock.

If an applicant fails to make any necessary deduction from the gross areas of his land parcels, then in the course on an inspection he may be penalised for overdeclaring the actual utilisable area available to him.

Article 9 of EU Regulation 3887/93, as amended, lays down the penalties to be applied is discrepancies are discovered in the course of carrying out controls.
Where the declared area is more than 20 per cent greater than the area found on inspection, no area linked aid will be payable. Where a false declaration is made as a result of serious negligence, the applicant shall be excluded from the aid scheme concerned for the current calendar year. Where a false declaration is made intentionally, he or she shall be excluded from all area aid linked schemes for the following year also in respect of the area equal to that for which the current year's area aid application is rejected.
In the case to which the Deputy refers, therefore, the applicant would appear to have overdeclared his net forage area by 10 hectares or 28.57 per cent, in which case he would lose entitlement to all 1996 aid in respect of the livestock schemes for which an area aid declaration is required and, if his application is deemed to constitute an intentional false declaration, all area-linked aid in respect of 35 hectares in 1997.