Farmers seek Oireachtas hearing over 'unfairly targeting' and inspections fines
Farmers in North Tipperary are understood to be seeking a hearing with the Joint Oireachtas Committee on agriculture over farm inspections in the county.
Farmers in the county, led by IFA North Tipperary Chairman Tim Cullinane, staged a protest in recent weeks outside the offices of the Department of Agriculture in Nenagh.
The Department agreed to meet with the farmers and two meetings with senior Department officials took place since. However, it's understood that the aggrieved farmers are now seeking a meeting with the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture to get answers to their questions.
They say that farmers in North Tipperary are being unfairly targeted by inspections - with farmers in the county saying that penalties are being applied in 53pc of inspections in the county compared to a national level of 39pc and the average penalty applied was €1,300, compared to €750 nationally, excluding any issues of land elegibility.
“There has been huge support from farmers in the county for the action which we have taken to get a solution as to why Tipperary has a higher rate of inspection and heavier penalties being applied than in any other county, and we have also received many calls of support from farmers in other counties since the protest”, Cullinane said.
In one year, according to figures provided through a Dail question, farmers in the area had paid €1.28m in penalties, not including any issue of land elegibility.
“I don’t accept that the farmers in Tipperary are worse than any other part of the country or that they should be carrying penalties that are one third higher," he said.
“We are not going to stand for the number of inspections or penalties which we are getting and we are looking for an explanation."