Dáil Éireann - Volume 495 - 03 November, 1998

Written Answers. - Departmental Staff.

281. Mr. Connaughton asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the number of agricultural officers confined to office duties in County Galway as a result of mileage expense restrictions; if these mileage restrictions operate in any other county; if his attention has been drawn to the anxiety of many farmers who want their REP scheme inspection on time in order that payment can be made; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21416/98]

[1616] Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mr. Walsh): Due to budgetary constraints, involving my Department's travelling budget, it proved necessary to impose some restrictions on officers' travel, in a number of counties, during the month of October. There were four officers confined to office duties for one week in County Galway.

It has now proved possible to lift such restrictions in Galway and the other counties.

I am well aware of the anxiety of farmers to have timely inspections and payments in the REPS scheme and I am satisfied our commitments are being substantially met.

My Department's travelling budget, not only under the REP scheme, but under all other schemes operated by my Department, is, of necessity, limited. Every effort is made at all times to use such limited resources to best effect.