Junior minister Andrew Doyle has today provided an update on the issue of the recent illegal burning on agricultural and forestry land that has led to the outbreak of serious fires across Ireland.
This week, Minister Doyle visited the site of the recent major forest fire at Cloosh Valley in Connemara.
Department officials are currently analysing satellite imagery to identify land which was burnt illegally during the specified closed season for burning.
Historic satellite imagery is also being examined as part of the process.
Agricultural and eligible forestry land identified as burnt illegally as part of this investigation will be deemed ineligible for payment under the 2017 Basic Payment and other area-based schemes.
Agricultural and eligible forestry land cannot be burned during the closed season from the 1st of March to the 31st of August.
Farmers who have included illegally burnt land in their 2017 Basic Payment Scheme application are being advised to remove this land by means of submitting an Amendment Form before the 31st of May.
Minister Doyle says his department will not tolerate incidences of illegal burning of land.
He says payments will be reduced and penalties applied where necessary.