5 May 1995

Producer charter backed by PM

IRISH prime minister John Bruton has launched a new charter of rights for farmers.

The charter, which includes a timetable for premium and grant delivery, also gives farmers the right to an appeal hearing. Appeal forms are available through local department of agriculture offices for those dissatisfied with department decisions.

Mr Bruton, who comes from a farming background, said the charter was essentially about "putting the farmer first". He added that about £750m a year comes into agriculture in the form of direct payments. It was crucial that these arrived on time and that farmers who had difficulties could have them dealt with in a humane way.

In the past the department may have appeared to have been overwhelmed by the complexity of the regulations, he said. Brussels rules changed frequently and "those people on the ground had to interpret these rules more or less on the hoof".

He added that there must be "a sensible appeals system which avoids a lot of cost but is seen to be fair".

Speaking at the launch, farm minister Ivan Yates said he was satisfied that the department "will be delivering on each and every aspect" of the charter. But he admitted that there was a problem with funding for farm investment schemes.