IFA President John Bryan has again called on the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney to immediately suspend all activities of the Special Investigation Unit in his Department, and he has demanded an independent investigation into their conduct on farms.
At a meeting in Cork last Friday, IFA County Chairs from the three Cork Executives raised the issues of the ‘totally unacceptable behaviour of members of the Department of Agriculture’s SIU towards farmers in County Cork’.
The Minister was told that some members of the Department’s SIU staff were seriously abusing their powers, and intimidating and bullying farmers into signing statements against their will. Minister Coveney told the IFA delegation that such conduct was not acceptable and he said he would have the matter fully investigated.
John Bryan said the latest developments with the SIU in Cork come following the severe criticism and questioning of the integrity of the SIU by Judge Leonie Reynolds in a Cavan Court recently, which he said reinforces IFA’s repeated calls for the SIU to be investigated.
Again at a Charter of Farmers’ Rights meeting with the Department earlier in November, IFA’s Protocol Committee strongly criticised the SIU activities and demanded that their behaviour on farms be independently investigated.
Following the court’s findings in Cavan, John Bryan said the Minister can no longer ignore farmer concerns relating to the activities of the SIU. The intimidation and harassment of ordinary hard working farm families has to stop.