The Petitions Committee of the European Parliament is to write to the Department of Agriculture to ask them to deal with the claims of a Clare farming couple.

Mary and Tom Clair from Lahinch claim Ireland failed to apply EU law in a fair and equitable manner.

They say that as a result they lost out on income, incurred unnecessary expenses and were denied access to EU farm schemes due to problems getting cattle tags from the department.

The issue arose in 2000 when 30 cattle tags that had been issued to the Clairs were burned accidently.

When they applied for new tags the following year, they were refused by the Department of Agriculture on the basis they had tags already.

This meant they could not register or sell cattle and had to hold them over the winter.

The department eventually granted them tags in 2002.

However, because applications for long-term access to subsidy schemes administered by the department had to be made during the years the dispute was taking place, they could not apply and have been losing income ever since.

The Clairs took their case to the Ombudsman but did not get a resolution.

Fine Gael MEP Sean Kelly presented their case to the Petitions Committee of the European Parliament this afternoon.

The committee is not a judicial body but works by drawing attention of the European Commission and member states to infringements of EU citizens’ rights under EU law.

Following today’s hearing in Brussels, the committee agreed to write to the Department of Agriculture asking it to deal with the matter.

The committee is also passing the case for consideration to the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee.

Mr Clair is also known as the owner of a cow that gave birth to quadruplets in January 2017.