The Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) has been asked to probe the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) system of information collection for a services levy on its members.
Patrick Kent, president of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Associations (ICSA) has called for an investigation into the GDPR compliance of the IFA collection system.
He told the Irish Independent that many farmers have “extreme misgivings” about the data-collection system.
“My legal advice is that levies should only ever be deducted on an opt-in basis,” he said.
“I am therefore calling on the Data Protection Commissioner to pro-actively investigate what is going on here, and explain to all farmers what are their rights under GDPR.”
The DPC could opt to probe IFA information-collection processes that appear to be able to identify which farmers are opting out of the services levy. The information is collected by meat processors, marts and co-ops on the association’s behalf.
Those farmers who wish to opt out of paying the levy are being asked by the IFA to fill out a form, which asks for the name, address, telephone number and herd number of the non-payee.
Last year, the levy was worth €3.2 million to the IFA, which says that the monies allow it to carry out its representative work on behalf of farmers.
Eamon Ó Cuív of Fianna Fáil said that only farmers who have expressly given permission should be levied.
Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice commented that the IFA should use a membership subscription, rather than collecting levies through factories or marts.