Written Answers. - Appeals Unit.

Donal Moynihan

Question:

76 Mr. D. Moynihan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development the plans, if any, he has to introduce an interim appeals body pending approval from the EU Commission for the establishment of an independent appeals board on a statutory basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4695/00]

In my reply to a question on 9 November last, I indicated my intention to set up an independent appeals unit, and to widen its remit beyond the headage and premia schemes which are the exclusive concern of the current appeals unit.

I am pleased this commitment has now been built into the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness agreed with the social partners.
The general scheme of the Bill which will give effect to this commitment is now in preparation.
I am anxious to see the new body, which I envisage calling the agriculture appeals office, on its feet as soon as possible. The preferable course may well be to establish it on an interim basis.
I hope to be able to announce decisions in this connection shortly.