The Irish Natura & Hill Farmers Association has welcomed recent action taken by Tipperary farmers with regard to the Department of Agriculture’s farm inspection process. Their sit-inn at Department offices highlights clear concerns with the Departments inspection process, concerns that the INHFA have raised in the past year.
INHFA National Chair Vincent Roddy outlined how the INHFA have made repeated calls for reform of the Inspection and Appeals Process and stated how “plans to reform this has being included in the Program For Government but as of yet nothing has happened.” This added Mr Roddy “is something that has to change irrespective of any objections from Department staff.”
Referring to the O Connor case regarding Land Eligibility Mr Roddy pointed to serious deficiencies highlighted by the Judge which the Department need to take on board. Of particular concern he added “was the absence of a control report and their inability to follow basic fair procedure.” Following this High Court decision the INHFA called for a full reform of the Appeals Office to ensure real independence and an appropriate route to the Courts if procedures are not followed.
Mr Roddy concluded by stating how “the current situation must change and until it does there will be an increasing sense of us v them between farmers and the Department. Such an attitude will only serve to create further division in an already fractured relationship. This is why the issues raised by these Tipperary farmers and the many farmers the INHFA have represented needs to be listened too and acted on.”