Belgium: Officials from the EU Commission are scheduled for a week-long visit to meet with the Department of Agriculture to review the land eligibility situation in Ireland, using satellite imagery. This was confirmed by Minister for Agriculture. “My aim is to defend, to build up to support the agri-food and farming sector and that is my job. But I have two choices here with land eligibility. We have a much more accurate way of photographing farms now than we had before. Last July we introduced a new system whereby, we have satellite imagery, which is crystal clear. The EU Commission has requested this data. If land does not have the capacity to be farmed, it is not eligible for a farm payment, for example if a farmer has been claiming land on a rough road or a scrub area or a forest area or on a river or a marsh. This is now becoming evident in the new mapping system,”
“We can either try and assess every land parcel in the country and make an assessment on the basis on what percentage of the land is not eligible and give that money back. This is public money, or the Commission will come here and do it for us,” Simon Coveney, Minister for Agriculture.