The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) will meet tomorrow, Thursday, June 20, with officials from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

The meeting will examine the 2017 Appropriation Account of Vote 30: Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

PAC will also examine the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund, and funding for rural development, maritime and fisheries affairs, and the fishery harbour centres.

In 2017, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine spent €1.4 billion, according to the committee ahead of the meeting.

In addition, EU expenditure of €1.2 billion was channelled through the department in 2017. The bulk of this at €1.19 billion related to direct scheme payments to farmers.

The €1.4 billion vote spend in 2017 related to four programme areas: Food Safety; Animal and Plant Health and Animal Welfare; Farm/Sector Supports; and Controls, Policy and Strategy and Seafood Sector.

Voted expenditure in 2017 also includes significant funding to a number of agriculture-related state bodies, including Teagasc, Bord Bia, Bord Iascaigh Mhara and the Horse and Greyhound Racing Fund, according to the PAC.

In addition, €14 million in food aid donations was provided to the World Food Programme in 2017.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, chairman of the PAC, Seán Fleming, said:

The committee will be keen to learn more about how it exercises its oversight role for the agencies to which it provides public monies and how it ensures value for money for the taxpayer.

The meeting will start at 9:00am in committee room 3.