BY JACKIE KEOGH
A MOTION calling on the Minister for Agriculture to instruct his department to cease all Single Farm Payment inspections until a High Court test case has been finalised will be discussed at the May 11th meeting of Cork County Council.
According to Cllr Michael Collins (Ind), there are 33,000 farmers who are severely affected by the Single Farm Payment penalty and he endorsed the legal challenge being taken by the Disadvantaged Farmers Legal Challenge group. The group are bringing the Department of Agriculture to the High Court in protest against Single Farm Payment cuts and penalties that are based on ‘ineligible’ or marginal ground.
‘This is a very difficult time for farmers and both cuts and the threat of retrospective fines have made life extremely worrying for every farmer affected by these cuts in the past year and a half,’ Mr Collins told The Southern Star.
‘All efforts to bring about a peaceful solution to this problem have gone unheeded,’ said Mr Collins, who maintained that solutions by agriculture ministers in other European countries ‘will have to be adopted here if farmers are to avoid been penalised and facing the risk of losing their incomes, or worse their farms.’
With preparation for the High Court case at an advanced stage, and with a groundswell of support for the Disadvantaged Farmers Legal Challenge’ group throughout Cork and Kerry, Mr Collins called for ‘all aerial satellite inspections to cease immediately until the High Court challenge has been heard.’