‘Agricultural Mapping System has failed farmers’ – Bradley

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Tuesday, March 12th, 2013
SDLP MLA for Newry and Armagh Dominic Bradley has called for an investigation into the agricultural mapping system which he says has failed farmers so badly. Commenting to an answer to a written question which he put to the Minister of Agriculture, Mr Bradley said, “The Minister in her answer is failing to take responsibility for a system which has caused farmers untold misery due to the number or errors it has generated. “The SDLP are deeply concerned that over £20 million of public money has been spent on administering a fundamentally flawed system. Following the third attempt by the Department to get this right people’s patience will naturally be running out. “The Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development must urgently deal with this debacle and ensure that farming families are in no-way penalised by DARD’s mistakes. Computer glitches can happen but there must be action to ensure mapping errors are prevented in the future. “Farmers need to know that the system represents value for money given the exorbitant amounts the mapping system is costing the tax payer. The Minister must be proactive rather than reactive and ensure that finally her department get this mapping system right. Bradley added, “The SDLP are also calling for an investigation to restore confidence in DARD’s administration, otherwise this matter may have to be referred to the Northern Ireland Audit Office and indeed the Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee. “The new mapping system must meet the Single Farm Payment EU requirements and be value for money.”
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