The Office of the Ombudsman outlined a case involving a farmer and his involvement in REPS 4 in its Annual Report for 2017. A farmer lodged a complaint to the Office in 2017 when the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine(DAFM) sought to obtain a €27,550 Rural Environment Protection Scheme (REPS 4) payment.
The farmer failed to notify the relevant section of the Department when he changes ownership of land - one of the conditions of the scheme.
As sought by the DAFM, the farmer then returned the €27,550 scheme payment. Along with this, the Department also cancelled the last two stages of the contract with the REPS 4 participant.
“The Local Office had failed to issue an ‘Adjusted Plan’ letter. This letter outlines the
consequences of not submitting an adjusted plan to inform the Department of a change of land
ownership. The Local Office had also failed to notify him of the termination of his contract.” The report outlined.
An examination led by the Ombudsman found that the Department acknowledged the man’s application has not been processed in accordance with Local Office procedure and said that he had not received all the information to which he was entitled.
The payment was re-issued to the farmer and the last two stages of his contract were also processed by the Department; he received €13,651.