Government plans to hit farmers with clawbacks on their Single Farm Payment (SFA) and Disadvantaged Area Payments (DAS) is likely to send many deeper into debt, it has been claimed.
Around 5,000 farmers have so far been asked to return almost €1.5m in grant aided support due to inconsistencies between previously charted maps and present day digitised drawings.
But it is the Department of Agriculture’s decision to include all farmer applications during the 2009-12 period which has angered many, in a move some have deemed retrospective and improper.
“It will bring down farm incomes for sure,” said an indignant David Norris at the weekend. Based just outside Aughnacliffe and a suckler farmer all his life, he said the new changes had come as a complete surprise.
Fellow north Longford woman Angela Durkin took a similarly negative tone. She said farmers were already suffering and called for grants to be given to farms that practices such as vegetable growing and bee-keeping.