BFP review decisions taking too long – Irwin

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Newry & Armagh DUP Assemblyman and member of Stormont’s DAERA Committee William Irwin has expressed his concerns at the length of time it is taking to reach conclusions on Review Decisions for Basic Farm Payment applications.

Mr Irwin said he had been contacted by a large number of farmers who have been waiting for months for a decision on their reviews. Mr Irwin revealed that some farmers had submitted Stage 1 Review of Decision applications in mid-January and have yet to hear back from the Department.

“Many of the decisions are in regards to the Active Farmer issue and many farmers who I have spoken to have farmed all their lives and yet they are being considered inactive by officials,” he said.

“You can understand the frustration of farmers who are in this position given their lifelong involvement in farming, the work that it takes in growing crops or rearing of livestock and Department officials cannot then see them as active farmers. It is hugely irritating for those farmers who are waiting and waiting on a decision being issued on their review applications.

“I really feel that the officials have made a lot of work for themselves in this regard and the rigidness of their approach in handling these reviews is causing the lengthy delays and meanwhile farmers have to wait in limbo for months on a decision.”

He said the Department needs to get to grips with this issue as it is causing great concern amongst affected farmers.