In the context of delivering the Direct Payment Schemes and Rural Development measures, my Department is required to carry out on-the-spot inspections on a number of farms. These inspections address a range of issues in relation to land eligibility, scheme specific eligibility and other EU regulatory requirements. The basis for these inspections is governed by EU legislation and there are certain minimum numbers and types of inspections that must take place annually.
These inspections are a necessary requirement in order to draw down approximately €1.5 billion of EU funds annually and to avoid EU disallowances.
The legal case to which the Deputy refers has not yet reached its conclusion, and as the matter progresses I will be obtaining legal advice as appropriate on the wide range of complex legal issues involved. Accordingly, any issues arising as a result of the legal case can only be addressed following the completion of this legal process.