Legislation to establish an independent agricultural appeals review panel could be passed before this summer, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has said.

Responding to a question at the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Agriculture, Minister McConalogue said it is “entirely possible” the bill will be passed into law before the Dáil’s summer recess in July.

“I don’t expect this to be bogged down in the Dáil or the Seanad for hours on end with significant debate - I want to make sure this is as acceptable to people as possible.

“That being the case, I think in terms of the Seanad and the Dáil, we should be able to move through fairly confidently,” he said.

At pre-legislative scrutiny for the agricultural appeals (amendment) bill this Thursday 29 February, the Minister said he thinks the longest timeline for the bill to be passed is before the current Dáil is dissolved.

This can be no later than 19 February 2025. However, political commentators have said it is likely to happen this autumn.

Establishing an independent agricultural review panel is part of the current programme for government.


There was much discussion on the independence of the proposed appeals review panel and the need for farmer representation, a point raised by farm organisations at previous meetings with the committee on the bill.

The bill outlines that the chair would be made by ministerial appointment.

The panel members will also be appointed by the Minister of Agriculture through expression of interest.

Senator Paul Daly highlighted the case made by farm organisations that the board needs a level of independence from the Department.

“The argument at the moment for the need for independence of the appeals board is that most appeals officers tend to be retired Department officials who are then hearing appeals against former colleagues.

“The argument they [farm organisations] would have made is, if the chair is a ministerial appointment, we’re nearly at the status quo,” he said.

Minister McConalogue said there will be farmer representation on the panel and that it is standard practice for appointments like this to be made ministerially.

“In many instances on many, many boards it’s the minister [who] makes the appointment,” he said.


On there being a certain timeframe for an appeal decision to be made, Minister McConalogue said fixed timelines in legislation would be difficult for complicated appeals.

“It’s really important that these are dealt with expeditiously, but were you to put a definite date in there and you had a particularly complicated scenario, which was very difficult or an extreme circumstance, with a fixed date in legislation you could potentially fall foul of it then if it was a particularly tricky thing that required further examination.

“That’s just the caution I’d have in relation to that,” he said.

In his opening statement, Minister McConalogue said the bill would remove the need for panel members to be under 70 years of age.

He also agreed to amending the bill to allow for clearer wording that remote hearings could only be held when agreed with the appellant and that the appellant could have people accompany them to a hearing.

Read more

Farmer waits over four years for inspection result

Proposed appeals review panel needs separation from Department - farm orgs