Graduates of Mountbellew Agricultural College do not meet the educational requirements to qualify as a GLAS planner, a review of the situation has found.

The Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney confirmed this week that the review of the situation would see no change to the educational requirement for GLAS planners.

In response to a parliamentary question on the issue this week he said in order to ensure that advisors meet the requirements outlined above, the Department of Agriculture requires that all advisors must have attained a HETAC Level 8 Bachelor Degree in Agricultural Science/Land Management in Agriculture and must have taken soil science and an animal or crop production subject to a level 8 (NFQ) degree standard.

Minister Coveney said the Department recently carried out a review of the educational qualification requirements for FAS/GLAS advisors following the receipt of appeal from Mountbellew Agricultural College/GMIT in relation to the BSc in Agriculture and Environment Management with the add-on BSc in Rural Enterprise and Environment, which had been deemed as not meeting the required standard.

This review, he said, was undertaken by an officer independent of the original decision making process.

According to the Minister, the review incorporated a detailed examination of all documentation submitted as part of the appeal, identified that the course did not meet the standard of educational qualifications required as some of core subjects of soil science and animal and crop production were assessed only as part of the level 7 degree.

He said the required standard to be approved as an FAS/GLAS advisor is that these core subjects must be taken/assessed as part of a level 8 degree programme.

However, the Minister also stated that he is currently considering these issues further.