The IFA and other farm organisations were aware that the Department would be sending TB letters to farmers last year, which IFA members then proceeded to burn, a Department official has suggested.

Eoin Ryan, senior superintending veterinary inspector at the Department, was asked by Roscommon Galway TD Michael Fitzmaurice if the letters were a solo run by the Department.

Ryan said the letters were based on a recommendation by the TB forum and cited a report by the forum recommending the letters.

Fitzmaurice said: “So just to be clear, they knew about this is what you’re saying,” to which Ryan replied: “It’s in the TB forum report, I’ve quoted from it there.”

Make of that what you will.