Huge rise in farm inspections

Cillian Walsh

NEW FIGURES have shown that the number of farm inspections in Kerry has gone up by over a quarter this year, confirming claims made by the IFA last month.

The figures, released from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, reveal that Kerry has bucked the national trend, where there has been a 22% drop in inspections nationwide, with a 28% increase in Kerry.

In July, IFA President John Bryan said he believed the Government was attempting to mask the sudden surge in inspections and penalties through the manner in which they were releasing their data, presenting it on the basis of a three year rolling average.

The figures released this week to Kerry South Independent TD Tom Fleming, make no secret of the reality on the ground in Kerry. They show that, so far this year, 742 farms in Kerry have been subject to inspections, an increase on the 580 farms that were inspected in 2012.

However, the Department of Agriculture told The Kerryman this week that the reason the number of inspections was higher in Kerry than elsewhere in the country was because the county was at the top of the list. Inspectors will now move on to focus on other areas and by the end of the year the number of farm inspections will tend to balance out across the country.

"The figures provided to Deputy Fleming in relation to the total number of holdings subject to inspection in 2013 (to date), across all counties, took account of only those inspections that had been undertaken at the time the figures were compiled. When the number of holdings selected for inspection in 2013, some 13,150 cases, is used the difference between each of the years 2011 to 2013 is negligible," the Dept stated.

In the past month IFA Deputy President IFA Eddie Downey has been calling for reasonable tolerance levels to be built into the inspection process to take account of normally occuring unintentional errors at practical farm level, in relation to nitrates inspections.


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