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Written Answers - Sheep Inspections

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 765 No. 3

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 407.  Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae  asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney  the position regarding sheep inspections (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23794/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney My Department, in the context of delivering the Direct Payments Schemes is required to carry out annual inspections covering land eligibility and cross compliance to ensure compliance with EU regulatory requirements.

Eligibility checks must be carried out on 5% of applicants. These checks are carried out to verify that the actual area claimed in the application form corresponds to the area farmed by the farmer and to ensure that any ineligible land/features are deducted. Up to two-thirds of these inspections are carried out without a farm visit as the information is verified using the technique of remote sensing via satellite.

The rate of inspections for cross-compliance is 1% of applicants to whom the Statutory Management Requirements (SMRs) and Good Agricultural and Environmental Condition (GAEC) apply. However 3% of farmers must be inspected under the bovine identification and registration requirements while 3% of sheep/goat farmers must be inspected covering 5% of the flock.

Every effort is made by officials of my Department to minimise disruption as much as possible to both the farmer and livestock on the holding in both the timing and undertaking of inspections.

[458]The value of these schemes to Irish farmers is €1.8bn annually. It is therefore incumbent on my Department to ensure that the regulatory control environment is comprehensively implemented to avoid EU disallowances.

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