Farmers spent all night queuing outside government offices in several towns last night hoping to get grants which are to be distributed on a first come first served basis. Unfortunately Michael Mann, a spokesman for the Agriculture Commissioner, said the department’s methods were “unacceptable” and broke EC rules. The BBC are reporting him saying: “When it comes to modernisation methods like the ones we are talking about in the Northern Irish case, the rules say that you have to make the decision on who gets the money based on clear criteria,
“We have been in contact with the Northern Ireland authorities and told them that a first come, first served basis is not an acceptable way of doing this.” Ms. Gildernew has defended her actions saying “Brussels knew what we were doing, they knew there was a selection criteria – this is not a matter of turning up and saying ‘give me five grand’… As far as I’m concerned our officials have been working throughout this, and I think that we will be able to proceed with this process and I don’t think there will be any difficulty.”
This level of chaos is in fairness nothing like as impressive as the mess Ruane has managed to make of education, however, I suppose after unregulated academic selection Sinn Fein may now be trying unregulated grant application?