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Ferris expresses disappointment on farm inspections

17 April, 2007

The Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Agriculture, Martin Ferris TD, has expressed his disappointment at the failure of the Government to secure any change to the current system of on farm inspections. The Kerry North TD was responding to an EU Commission report which yesterday rejected a proposal to give farmers 14 days notice prior to a visit from an inspector.

Deputy Ferris said, "Farmers are not objecting to inspections and recognise that there does need to be official scrutiny of aspects of farm work especially as it affects health and safety issues. However, the current system is extremely cumbersome and appears designed to make life difficult for the farmer rather than facilitate genuine scrutiny.

"As matters stand, inspectors arrive unannounced and expect that a farmer will be in a position to have all his stock and all other parts of his operation ready for inspection. That is not only often a great inconvenience but it can be physically impossible in many instances for a farmer to arrange all of this at such short notice.

"Farmers are simply making a reasonable request that they be given sufficient time in order to have everything prepared and I see no reason why the Commission can not take steps to meet these reasonable requests. I would strongly urge that Minister Coughlan make this a priority issue to be resolved prior to the calling of the election." ENDS

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