Teagasc will be questioned on the reduction in its 2017 operating surplus by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) tomorrow. According to the research body's annual financial statement, its operating surplus declined from €7.95m in 2016 to €5.23m in 2017.

The committee will also examine the €11.8m spent by Teagasc on advisory service fees and will seek to ascertain how the fee rates for these services are determined and how the contracts are awarded.

Teagasc representatives will be questioned on the group's procurement practises, as last year 19 contracts were non-compliant with procurement guidelines.

These issues were highlighted in a recent report by the Comptroller and Auditor General.

Teagasc director, professor Gerry Boyle and chief operations officer Tom Doherty will representTeagasc at the meeting. Kevin Smyth who is acting secretary general will represent the Department of Agriculture.

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