Fine Gael TD for Meath East, Regina Doherty, has today (Wednesday), welcomed the announcement by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, that a new Investigations Division is to be established in the Department of Agriculture.
“As part of the modernisation of the Department being undertaken by Minister Coveney and in keeping with the public service reform process currently underway, it was found that an Investigations Division was needed. This Investigations Division will ensure a process that is strong, cohesive and effective.
“I am very supportive of an Investigations Unit in the Department of Agriculture that will ensure transparency, streamline processes and deliver the best service to those affected. Many high profile investigations have taken place in the past in the Department of Agriculture, most recently relating to the horsemeat crisis. The new Investigations Division will ensure that issues such as these will be dealt with in accordance with the highest levels of legal compliance to protect the health of consumers, to promote the Agri-food industry and to protect Ireland’s reputation at home and abroad.
“The Investigations Division will determine whether an investigation is warranted and if so, whether this should be conducted by the Investigations Division or referred to the Garda Síochána. The new Investigations Division reports to an Investigations Steering Group which is headed by a Senior Superintending Veterinary Officer and supported by a team of investigators. This new Investigations Division will perform the functions previously undertaken by the Special Investigations Unit and brings all investigation capability, both internal and external, into one Division.
“The establishment of an Investigations Division enhances our capacity to protect Ireland’s international reputation.
“The Department of Agriculture carries out very important, sensitive and technical work in investigating issues that arise relating to the agri-food sector. I am pleased that the new Investigations Division will assist the Department in carrying out this work, while also developing the public service reform agenda.”