Wednesday, 15 September 2021

Questions (804)

Matt Carthy

Question:

804. Deputy Matt Carthy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if a participant in a departmental scheme appeals the recoupment of payments made, if interest penalties apply from one month after the notice or one month after the appeals process has been exhausted; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43597/21]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The application of interest in respect of scheme related debts is provided for in EU Regulations 1306/2013 and 908/2014. Interest is applied to any outstanding balance following the 30-day payment period allowed in the letter of notification. Interest continues to be applied to any such outstanding balance while an appeal is being processed and finalised.

If the appeal results in a successful outcome for the customer, any associated overpayments, penalties and interest are refunded or reversed as appropriate.

Since taking office, I have been acutely aware of some of the challenges around the BEAM scheme. Through negotiation, I secured a new reference period to assist those participants who were facing challenges with meeting the requirements of the scheme  

I accept that the way in which the Department deducted money from participants, who decided not to avail of the reference period extension, was not properly handled and greater sight of the process should have been given to these farmers.

I have instructed my officials to issue and apology letter to this cohort of farmers for the premature manner in which farmers had their monies deducted, albeit they did not meet the requirements of the scheme.