Farmers should be compensated if Department did not comply with inspection regulations – Martin Kenny
Speaking in the Dáil today, Sinn Féin agriculture spokesman, Martin Kenny TD asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, to respond to the judgement in the High Court in the O’Connor v Department of Agriculture case, which found that the Department did not fulfil proper regulations when imposing penalties on the farmer in question as a result of a farm inspection.
Deputy Kenny said:
“This case went through the courts on 2 June. The farmer in question lodged an appeal to the Department. When officials came out to his farm, they did not fulfil the regulations set out by the Department and the EU.
“If the shoe was on the other foot and the farmer had not fulfilled the regulations, we know what would have happened. As the court said, this farmer has to be compensated for his losses because his appeal was not dealt with properly.
“Hundreds of other farmers are in a similar position. They did not receive a control report, which was supposed to be provided, and this is at the nub of the case. Many of them are examining their positions and saying they had a fair case which was not dealt with properly and they did not get the fair play they felt they deserved.
“Now they want to know whether they can apply to get their money back and to be compensated for their losses. If the shoe was on the other foot, the Department would do so. Will the Minister commit to repaying them for their losses as a result of this failure?”
The minister replied that he was taking legal advice on the issue and awaiting the full judgement being published on 23 July 2016. Deputy Kenny said he would expect that farmers in a similar situation would also be compensated for this breach of regulations by the Department.
See the exchange in the Dáil here: