Dáil Éireann - Volume 614 - 14 February, 2006
Written Answers. - Computer Software.
Mr. Naughten Mr. Naughten
478. Mr. Naughten asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food if there are problems with the computer software in use for processing the single farm payment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5424/06]
Mary Coughlan Mary Coughlan
Mary Coughlan: My Department began making single farm payments on 1 December and over 118,000 farmers were paid in excess of €1 billion in the lead up to Christmas. This provided a very important boost to the rural economy and gave a good head-start to our farming sector in the challenging years ahead.
The rules of this scheme are extremely complex. Each farmer’s entitlement is based on the unique history for that farm over the reference period. Farmers were allowed in some cases to apply for different reference years or claim force majeure. The system must also to cater for cases where ownership or usage changed due to inheritance, sale and leasing and so forth. Applications are subject to inspection and the EU requirements in this area are very complex.
The development of the SPS computer system was a mammoth undertaking and in order to minimise the inherent risks, it was decided to develop the system on a phased basis, thus allowing it to be rigorously tested and any teething problems to be ironed out before moving on to the next phase. Phases one to three provided functionality to calculate the farmer’s entitlements, to process applications and inspections and finally to make payments to farmers. Further phases will be introduced in 2006 to process the national reserve, trading of entitlements and the new cross compliance regulations. Internet access to applications, entitlements and maps will also be provided to farmers in early 2006.
I am happy to report that my Department continues to be in the forefront in the delivery of the computer systems to support direct payments to farmers across the EU and I am confident that the additional software will be delivered on time and within budget in 2006.
The SPS computer project was the recipient of the Inside Government Innovation award for best Government to business project. This furthers highlights my Department’s exceptional success in introducing this system.
Dáil Éireann 614 Written Answers. Computer Software.