More Galway farmers incur CC penalties

Eamon Ó Cuív: Mindset change needed.
Eamon Ó Cuív: Mindset change needed.

THE number of Galway farmers getting a ‘clean bill of health’ in the Cross Compliance inspections regime has fallen dramatically from 2010 to 2016, according to figures released by the Dept. of Agriculture.

In 2010, almost 70% of Galway farmers inspected were passed as ‘clear’, but by last year this had fallen to just over 50%.

According to the Dept. of Agriculture figures – released to Fianna Fáil Agriculture Spokesman Charlie McConalogue – the Galway statistics reflect a nationwide trend as regards inspection ‘failures’.

There were 667 Cross Compliance inspections in Galway in 2010 with 463 of those ‘clear’ while monetary penalties were imposed on 143 farmers. However, in 2016 out of 614 inspections only 311 of those inspected went clear with monetary penalties imposed on 155 Galway farmers.

Deputy McConalogue said that it was now becoming increasingly clear that with the rise in the number and complexity of CAP schemes, more and more penalties were being applied to farmers.

“Many now view the inspections regime as unfair, and claim that it is resulting in disproportionate penalties,” said Deputy McConalogue.

Galway East Fianna Fáil TD, Anne Rabbitte, said that there was growing concerns with the latest figures as more and more farmers were being penalised for genuine errors.

“We feel very strongly that there has to be a sea change in the whole approach as regards inspections. The process needs to be corrective and not penal. In the vast majority of cases, the errors are genuine mistakes on technical issues.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.