Carthy raises no - notice farm inspections with Commissioner Hogan
Sinn Féin MEP, Matt Carthy, at a meeting of the European Parliament's Agriculture & Rural Development committee this week called for an end to department no-notice farm inspections.
Mr. Carthy raised the issue during a dialogue with Commissioner Phil Hogan.
"One of the most frequent complaints raised by farmers is that of no-notice inspections. Department officials are entitled to arrive on a farm without notice to inspect some issues including those relating to Animal health and food standards. Nobody can argue against this.
"However, many officials use the opportunity of these inspections to 'suggest' that while they are at the farm that they also carry out inspections relating to matters for which they are technically required to provide notice, for instance land eligibility. Farmers feel that they cannot refuse and are often left stressed by the experience. Oft-times they subsequently learn that these inspections have resulted in considerable reductions in farm payments.
"In his response to me Commissioner Hogan acknowledged that this was an unfair practise and should not be tolerated. It is therefore now beyond time that the practise ended and the on-farm inspection process was made fairer and easier for farmers to understand.
"For my part I intend to continue to press the Irish Minister and the Commissioner to ensure that measures are put in place to ensure that on-farm inspections are used to ensure that food and environmental standards are maintained rather than be used to penalise and stress farmers many of whom are already overburdened by bureaucracy".