The Comptroller and Auditor General's annual report shows a number of issues when the C&AG examined the property portfolio held by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

A sample of 14 properties, amounting to 38% of the total number held, were assessed.

The examination found the Department does not have a centralised estate management system in place and management of its portfolio is spread across a number of divisions within the Department.

It also found some properties are not properly registered with the Land Land Registry, or have been registered by both the Department and the OPW.

The examination team identified a 235 square metre Georgian farmhouse on Department lands at Backweston Farm in Co Kildare that was not recorded on either the Department's or the OPW's asset register.

The Department stated that the farm foreman resides in the Georgian farmhouse, without a tenancy agreement in place as it is a requirement of the post that the farm foreman resides on the farm.

The building has now been added to the Department's Assets Register.

Another cottage the Department owns on lands adjacent to the farm, known as Stacumny Cottage, is being let to a staff member of €104 a year in order not to leave the property vacant for long periods and to prevent dereliction.

The report also noted that a farmer is grazing cattle for free on lands at one of the Department's regional Veterinary Offices.

The Department stated that this is an ad hoc arrangement that has been in place for at least 20 years, and that it is mutually beneficial in that the field is maintained at no additional cost to it.

It was also noted that the Department of Agriculture has not properly secured some lands that it owns.

This includes a bog where turf is being cut by individuals and one commercial operator, and where a number of farmers have enclosed an area that they not operate as commonage.