Farm Ireland

Friday 23 March 2018

Minister: 'There is no review of Department farm inspection regime'

Minister Michael Creed. Photo: Arthur Carron
Minister Michael Creed. Photo: Arthur Carron
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

The Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed has said that there is no review of the Department of Agriculture’s inspection regime.

It comes as IFA Deputy President Richard Kennedy called for an urgent review of the inspection and appeals procedures within the Department of Agriculture at the meeting of the Farmer’s Charter review Group held in Portlaoise recently.

He said this was line with the commitments given at the recent Oireachtas Agriculture Committee hearing on the issues and he requested that the review would commence without delay.

Kennedy said it is clear from recent evidence on the number of inspections and the penalties imposed, that some farmers and some regions are being treated unfairly.

“This is resulting in hardship on farm families and is having a serious impact on their farm income.  IFA will be seeking a defined timeline for this review, to happen well before cross-compliance inspections begin later this year”, he said.

However, responding to questioning from Fianna Fail TD Jackie Cahill that the review in question is a  review of the Agriculture Appeals Act 2001, not a review of the Department's inspection regime.

This, the Minister said is in line with the commitment given in the Programme for Partnership Government that there would be a review of  the Agriculture Appeals Act 2001 “to ensure the independence and efficiency of the Office in dealing with appeals from farmers”.

“As I stated last month I intend to establish a Steering Committee to oversee the delivery of the commitment.

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“The Committee will include independent experts.  It is anticipated that the Committee will also invite stakeholder input to the process.  It is expected that the review will be completed by the end of this year,” he said.

The Minsiter said he and his Department recognises that farmers can become very concerned about inspections. 

“For this reason, my Department makes every effort to explain the nature and process of inspections, and the requirements of the EU and national schemes, to farmers. 

“My Department will be increasing its efforts in this regard and is happy to work with the farm organisations and others in this process,” he said.

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