The Ombudsman received a total of 163 complaints about the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine from farmers across Ireland in 2020.
Once case related to a farmer who complained after the Department expelled him from the Green. Low-Carbon, Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS) but was re-admitted after the Department was found to have imposed the wrong penalty.
The Ombudsman found that the farmer should have been issued with a late submission penalty, instead of expulsion.
In another complaint, a farmer who applied to the National Reserve Scheme had his application refused by the Department because he had not completed a specific education course by a particular date.
However, the Ombudsman said there were exceptional circumstances which prevented the farmer from satisfying that specific condition of the scheme.
Announcing his retirement after eight years as Ombudsman, Peter Tyndall said complaints about public services including those provided by Government departments, local authorities and the HSE, remained high throughout last year despite the pandemic.
A total of 3,418 complaints were made by the public in 2020 – 6 per cent less than 2019.
The main complaints around agriculture included:
– Re-designation of Areas of Natural Constraints
– Basic Payment Scheme
– Forestry Grants and Premiums Scheme