Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Food and Horticulture, Jackie Cahill has welcomed the announcement of a review of the 2001 Agriculture Appeals Act but has warned that a future appeals process must be accountable and transparent in order to restore farmer confidence in the system.
Speaking after the Minister made the announcement, Deputy Cahill said that “a review of this nature has been long overdue.
“Farmers have been very concerned about how appeals have been conducted over the past five years, and with confidence among farmers at an all-time low, this review has the potential to change how farmers feel they are being treated by the system.
“This review needs to be comprehensive in nature. Everything needs to be on the table.
“Earlier this year, I raised the very serious concerns that I had with the penalties being inflicted on farmers in County Tipperary at a meeting of the Joint Oireachtas Committee.
“The review must have, at its heart, the twin pillars of transparency and accountability in order to restore farmer confidence in the process.
“Fianna Fáil believes that the Chair of the Appeals Board must be independent, and that membership of the Board must include members of the farming community. At present, the Appeals Board is staffed solely by former staff of the Department of Agriculture and Food.
“We have a chance to reset the dial when it comes to dealing with appeals by farmers. A thorough and rigorous review is the first step in increasing confidence in the system, and I look forward to engaging with it over the next number of months,” concluded Cahill.