Friday, 6 September 2019

Questions (1403)

Michael Healy-Rae


1403. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of a BPS payment for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35552/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The closing date for the 2019 Basic Payment Scheme was 15th May 2019. As with previous years, the closing date was widely advertised to ensure that all applicants were aware of the deadline.

In cases where a herd number is awaited, a facility is in place to enable farmers to make their BPS application in advance of the herd number being issued. A number of supports are in place for farmers who wish to make such applications. For example, the Department's BPS phone helpdesk is available to farmers with these types of queries as they are making their applications. In addition, my Department also provided BPS application clinics around the country in the run up to the BPS application deadlines. At these clinics, farmers were provided with one-to-one assistance by a member of my Department's staff in submitting their applications. This service included Department officials assisting applicants in submitting applications while awaiting herd numbers. A similar drop-in service was available to farmers in my Department's Portlaoise office all through the application period. Finally, it is also open to all applicants to engage the services of an agricultural advisor should they wish to seek assistance in making such an application.

The 2019 Basic Payment Application in respect of the person named was received on 12 July 2019. Applications received after 15 May can be accepted on the basis of a sliding scale of penalties for each day after the 15 May that an application is received. In this case, the 12 July submission date resulted in a 100% late penalty.

The person named has appealed this penalty to my Department. This appeal has not been upheld on the basis that the information provided did not meet the Force Majeure or Exceptional Circumstances criteria laid down in EU legislation.

A letter recently issued to the person named setting out the position and outlined his right of further appeal to the Agriculture Appeals Office.