‘Evidence must be provided on land eligibility issues’

For any action to be taken on land eligibility issues or unfair inspections there must be evidence presented to Europe of such issues, according to MEP Mairead McGuinness.

“We need evidence and if anyone knows of inspectors who are ‘doing’ farmers, we need to know about that.

Let’s be sure that our evidence stacks up. If you go to a Commissioner with a good case, they will work with us if we give them evidence.”

She also told an ICSA meeting in Roscommon that it is frightening that “auditors find more mistakes than the inspectors when they go out after the inspectors”.

The MEP also told the ICSA that it was part of the CAP conversation that decided definitions and rules that farmers must now abide by.

“You may not have agreed with all of it, but you were part of it.

“It was very clear that during the negotiations that active farmers and eligible land were necessary, but if we have a problem now then we have to go back to the drawing board.

“When regulations are signed, its difficult to move them, but it’s not impossible.”

Fine Gael’s Maura Hopkins told the room that she was more than happy to take individual cases to the attention of MEP Mairead McGuinness.

She said that as a local councillor for Roscommon, she was willing to engage with local farmers to highlight their cases and take them further.

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