Northern Ireland: Sovereign immunity saves Department over ‘failed’ potato crop

Farmer holding harvested dirty potatoes in his hands. Very short depth-of-field.An action for damages by two Co Wicklow potato farmers against Northern Ireland’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has been dismissed on grounds the department was entitled to sovereign immunity as an agent of the British Crown. The action was brought by Paul and John Brady, of Kilcoole, Co Wicklow, who claimed in 2012 they had bought €88,000 worth of potato seed, sourced in Co Down, which had failed. As part of their claim to recover total crop losses of €332,000, they have sued a number of parties including NI’s Department of Agriculture, and Rural Development. They alleged the department was negligent in certifying two batches of Premier Elite seed potatoes as fit for purpose. More