Treaty men have a go on inspections
Limerick farmers have reacted angrily to figures which show that they are among the most heavily inspected farmers in the country.
Department of Agriculture figures show that Limerick Co Council instigated 120 farm nitrates inspections in 2012.
In contrast, Roscommon, which is similar in size, was subjected to just 16 inspections.
Following the publication of the data, which also highlights higher levels of cross compliance penalties in the Treaty County, Limerick ICMSA chairman Michael Lenihan said there was no drop in the standards of Limerick farming.
"Limerick has a reputation for having some of the best farmers in the country and an excellent record achieved by local farmers in national competitions down through the years," insisted Mr Lenihan.
"Limerick is criss-crossed by waterways to a far greater degree than some counties up the country and therefore is always likely to incur more inspections; the higher level of cross compliance penalties is a function and consequence of the greater number of inspections.
Put simply, it's a mathematical certainty that more inspections will trigger more penalties," he maintained.
In Donegal, Fianna Fáil Seanad spokesperson on agriculture, Brian Ó Domhnaill, expressed "grave concern" at the fact that farmers were penalised as much as 400pc more last year for cross compliance breaches by the Department compared to 2005.