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Statement by Minister Coveney on the Investigation by his Department into Infringements under the Milk Quota Regulation

In January of this year, my Department received information alleging non compliances by named parties with the Regulations governing the milk quota regime. In summary, the allegation was that a milk producer was having his milk collections credited to another milk supplier. The information received also alleged that this activity was being facilitated by the milk purchaser concerned.

Where allegations of non compliance are made, my Department investigates such matters to ensure that the obligations of all parties under the Milk Quota Regulations are being met, that any levies are paid in full, that the systems and procedures underpinning the operation of the regime are robust and to ensure that there are no financial losses to the Exchequer or the European Union arising from any non compliance.

I regard it as critically important that Milk Quota Regulations are upheld in full, and against the background outlined above, I immediately initiated a full investigation in this instance. That investigation is now complete.

At this stage corrective action has been taken. Following a fundamental review of milk recording within the milk processor, I am making arrangements to have this corrective action independently verified. The milk deliveries concerned have now been reallocated and any super levy arising as a result will be paid in full. There will also be the appropriate flexi milk adjustments arising from this. I am also referring the file in this case to Chief State Solicitor’s Office for advice on whether any further action is warranted, having regard to the provisions of the Milk Quota or other legal provisions.  

I would take this opportunity to remind all stakeholders in the dairy sector that Milk quotas will continue to operate until 31st March 2015. Anything less than full compliance with the rules distorts the otherwise level playing field for all milk suppliers and puts at a disadvantage the vast majority who do not seek to circumvent the rules and potentially exposes the Exchequer to financial losses. For this reason, I have asked my Department to be extra vigilant in this final year of quotas so that all suppliers can be assured that they enter the quota-free era on the same terms as their counterparts.

 

View Statement as a PDF: Milk Quota Statement (pdf 92Kb) 

Date Released: 04 June 2014