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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 404-420
 Header Item Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Payments
 Header Item Fishing Fleet Modernisation
 Header Item Public Services Provision
 Header Item Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Payments
 Header Item Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Payments
 Header Item Food Prices
 Header Item Animal Welfare Issues
 Header Item Single Payment Scheme Application Numbers
 Header Item Single Payment Scheme Application Numbers
 Header Item Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Payments
 Header Item Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Payments
 Header Item Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Payments
 Header Item Registration of Title
 Header Item Farm Inspections
 Header Item Agri-Environment Options Scheme Payments

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 786 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 109 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 404-420

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Payments

 404. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney when payment for derogation 2012 will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Kerry.  [55375/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney As processing of the 2012 Disadvantaged Areas Scheme application has recently been finalised, payment will shortly issue to the nominated bank account.

Fishing Fleet Modernisation

 405. Deputy Micheál Martin Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if he will detail the various schemes including hardship funds and their eligibility criteria for the decommissioning of fishing vessels as permitted by the relevant authority here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55401/12]

 406. Deputy Micheál Martin Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the funding available for decommissioning fishing vessels here; the eligibility criteria for the decommissioning of a fishing vessel (details supplied) in County Wicklow which has been deemed unfit to fish; if he will clarify the suitability of the vessel to avail of relevant funding in relation to its decommissioning; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55402/12]

 407. Deputy Micheál Martin Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if he will investigate the concerns of a person (details supplied) in relation to a fishing vessel; if he appreciates the difficulties facing the person; if he will meet with the person to discuss their concerns; if he will clarify the way this person's concerns may be brought to a final resolution; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55403/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney I propose to take Questions Nos. 405, 406 and 407 together.

  This matter centres on a vessel bought in Europe which turned out to be unstable and was unfit to go to sea. The owner of the vessel has consistently said that the paperwork supplied and the expert employed to survey the vessel at the time of purchase indicated that there was no problem with the stability of the vessel. I understand that vessel in question   failed a stability test by the Marine Survey Office (MSO) of the Department of Transport in 2009.   

  The failures in the stability of the fishing vessel were determined after its purchase by the new Irish owner. The reality that these failures were not detected at the time of purchase by the new owner is a private matter between the owners and the sellers of the vessel and the relevant experts involved in surveying and certifying the vessel, none of which are employed by the State or were acting on behalf of the State. The State does not have responsibility for the failures in this private business transaction, no matter how unfortunate the case may be. I am sympathetic to the very unfortunate situation that the owner finds himself in but it is not due to any failure on the part of the State and there are no remedies open to me to address the situation in which the vessel owner finds himself.

  My Department has no function in this safety matter, other than that the Sea Fishing Boat Licensing Authority must ensure that a vessel has a Fishing Vessel Safety Certificate prior to licensing. The Authority is not empowered to vary or indeed waive the legal safety requirements set down by the Maritime Safety Directorate of the Department of Transport.

  To resolve the stability problems of his vessel, I understand that the owner lengthened his vessel by 6 metres. As the vessel was larger, the owner requires additional capacity to licence the vessel. Capacity is a privately owned tradeable asset and my Department has no direct role in that private market. In February 2011, in order to licence the vessel without purchasing the additional capacity required, the owner made an application for ‘safety tonnage’ to the Registrar General of Fishing Boats. I understand that the Registrar is awaiting certification of the modifications to the vessel from the Marine Survey Office before a decision is made in relation to the safety tonnage application.

  The owner previously made a request to my Department to be granted a scallop authorisation and effort allocation in order to allow the owner to participate in the scallop fisheries.  Under the national policy for the fishing fleet, vessels permitted to participate in the scallop fishery are ring fenced within the fleet and only vessels with the necessary scallop entitlement in their sea fishing boat licence are permitted to participate in that fishery. The vessel in question is registered in the Beamer segment of the Irish Fishing Fleet and does not have the necessary track record to be licensed in the scallop sub-segments of the fleet. The owner’s proposal would require that the vessel would be licensed in the Polyvalent (scallop sub segment) or Specific (scallop sub segment) segments. There is no scope in the national policy to transfer from the Beamer segment to the Polyvalent or Specific segments, other than by providing 100% capacity from those segments with the required scallop track record. This capacity is a privately owned tradeable asset on the open market and must be provided at a ratio of 1:1 as part of the licensing process.    

  Fleet policy, including policy on segmentation of the fleet, is set by me under section 3(2) of the Fisheries (Amendment) Act 2003, as amended by section 99 of the Sea Fisheries Maritime Jurisdiction Act 2006. I am precluded by that Act from exercising any power or control in relation to any particular case or group of cases with which the Licensing Authority is or may be concerned. It is not an option, therefore, for me to amend national policy on segmentation of the fleet for the purpose of assisting the owner in moving to another segment of the fleet, no matter how sympathetic I may be to his situation. The same situation applies in relation to requests from the owner to move to the Refrigerated Sea Water Segment Pelagic segment of the fleet.

  More recently, the owner of the vessel has expressed a desire to decommission his vessel. Decommissioning of fishing vessels is governed by Council Regulation (EC) No 1198/2006   (EFF Regulation) and Commission Regulation (EC) No 498/2007 which provides for rules implementing schemes co-funded by the European Fisheries Fund. Article 23 of the EFF Regulation provides for the European Fisheries Fund to contribute to financing of the permanent cessation of fishing activities of fishing vessels, provided that such cessation forms part of a Fishing Effort Adjustment Plan prepared by the Member State and approved by the Commission as part of the Member State’s Operational Programme.

  There is at present no decommissioning scheme in operation. The last decommissioning scheme for vessels was undertaken in 2008 and implemented the fleet restructuring objectives set out in the National Strategic Plan for the Fisheries Sector 2007-2013, prepared in accordance with Article 15 of the EFF Regulation and which was submitted to and adopted by the Commission.

  The 2008 Decommissioning Scheme required that a vessel be registered/licensed, comply with all relevant legislation, be capable of putting to sea at the time of application and have carried out fishing activity for at least 75 days at sea in both of two periods of 12 months preceding 31 December 2007, or have carried out a fishing activity for at least 150 days at sea in the 12 month period preceding 31 December 2007. The Scheme sought to remove active fishing vessels and their fishing capacity from the fleet register to reduce fishing effort in certain whitefish fisheries and thereby improve the viability of the fisheries for other active vessels. I understand that the vessel in question has not been licensed since 30 September 2009 and is therefore not an active vessel. Should a new decommissioning scheme be introduced at a future date with similar eligibility requirements, the vessel would not qualify under its present circumstances.

  A new decommissioning scheme for any category of vessels or more generally could only be considered where a strong case has been made by the fishing industry representative bodies and that case was considered valid and the most appropriate use of scarce funds available for the development of the seafood sector, including the limited co-funding available from the European Fisheries Fund. It is likely that a revised Fishing Effort Adjustment Plan would be required and this would need to be approved by the European Commission. I have no plans at this time to introduce such a scheme which would in any event have to target a category or categories of vessels based on a range of broad and transparent criteria.

Public Services Provision

 408. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney further to Parliamentary Question No. 237 of 4 December 2012, if he will provide a list of all new services across his Department that have been tested for external service delivery since March 2011. [55424/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney In line with Government policy, the Department has committed to evaluating all new services regarding their suitability for external delivery, but no such services have been introduced since March 2011.

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Payments

 409. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív den Aire Talmhaíochta, Bia agus Mara Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney cén uair a íocfar an t-airgead faoi scéim na limistéar faoi mhíbhuntáiste, disadvantage area scheme, do 2012 le feirmeoir (sonraí tugtha); agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [55460/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Fuarthas iarratas faoi Scéim na Limistéar faoi Mhíbhuntáiste 2012 ón duine ainmnithe an 14 Bealtaine 2012. Níl aon íocaíocht eisithe fós, áfach, mar nach gcomhlíonann gabháltas an té ainmnithe íos-cheanglais dlús-stoic na Scéime. A luaithe is a dheimhneofar go bhfuil an gabháltas ag comhlíonadh na gceanglas seo cuirfear an cás chun cinn le súil is íocaíocht a dhéanamh chomh luath agus is féidir ina dhiaidh sin.

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Payments

 410. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív den Aire Talmhaíochta, Bia agus Mara Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney cén uair a íocfar an t-airgead faoi scéim na limistéar faoi mhíbhuntáiste, disadvantage area scheme, do 2012 le feirmeoir (sonraí tugtha); agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [55461/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Fuarthas iarratas faoi Scéim na Limistéar faoi Mhíbhuntáiste 2012 ón duine ainmnithe an 14 Bealtaine 2012. Níl aon íocaíocht eisithe fós, áfach, mar nach gcomhlíonann gabháltas an té ainmnithe íos-cheanglais dlús-stoic na Scéime. A luaithe is a dheimhneofar go bhfuil an gabháltas ag comhlíonadh na gceanglas seo cuirfear an cás chun cinn le súil is íocaíocht a dhéanamh chomh luath agus is féidir ina dhiaidh sin.

Food Prices

 411. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if he will provide the latest data on agriculture inflation and the measures that are being put in place to stabilise food input and output prices after global crop failures during 2012. [55502/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Weather conditions worldwide caused international alarm during the Summer of 2012 as people feared a repeat of the food shortages and political destabilization that occurred in 2010. However, since the beginning of 2012 the EU, in partnership with the G20, has supported an international market information system (AMIS) to provide transparency in relation to food prices. They have also supported the creation of a Rapid Response Forum, which has senior officials from all over the world in constant contact to react to challenging situations such as the global crop failures that occurred during 2012.

  The cooperation between governments has led to fewer trade-distorting reactions like the export bans witnessed in 2010. The poor harvests this summer led to rapid price increases for key food commodities, but the increases quickly stabilised. Rice prices are lower now than a year ago, while wheat, maize and soya have increased between 14% and 23%. Prices for all of these commodities are still very high by historical standards but the price increases experienced so far in 2012 have not led to major market shocks. The latest market monitor, published by AMIS this month, shows a tightening of wheat and maize stocks, but a good supply of rice and soya beans. It also states that Markets stabilized in recent weeks as forecasts for 2012/13 balances of AMIS crops became more definite. The FAO food price index for 2012 has remained below the 2011 figure despite the poorer harvests this year.    

  Weather both at home and abroad and the consequent effects on price volatility and input prices meant a more difficult time for Irish farmers after a couple of relatively positive years. The latest input and output figures from the CSO (issued 7 December 2012) showed a 10% drop in operating surplus for the agriculture sector. In particular, the sector had to bear an increase in intermediate consumption of 6.9% or €335.7m, half of which was accounted for by additional expenditure on feedingstuffs. High world prices for key food commodities affect Irish farmers, whose incomes will decline by over 20% in 2012. However, the sector remains healthy despite the temporary setbacks this year and is well placed to bounce back in 2013.

Animal Welfare Issues

 412. Deputy Derek Keating Information on Derek Keating Zoom on Derek Keating asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney his plans to review procedures to ensure the welfare of animals particularly stray horses who regularly have to be herded by the Garda in the Dublin mid-west area of Clondalkin, Rathcoole and Saggart and other surrounding areas; if the Animal Health and Welfare Bill will apply to the stabling of loose horses to keep them safe until the authorities deal with them; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [55505/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Matters relating to stray or abandoned horses in urban and rural areas come within the scope of the Control of Horses Act, 1996 under which Local Authorities have been given extensive powers. These powers include the making of bye-laws for the control and welfare of horses in the local authorities’ functional area, together with provisions on licensing of horses within control areas and seizure and detention of stray or abandoned horses. My officials are in ongoing contact with Local Authority representatives to underline that effective implementation of Control of Horses Act by them can assist with controlling horses and reducing potential horse welfare problems developing, particularly with regard to horses that are straying and or abandoned.

My Department also provides financial assistance to Local Authorities to assist in their work in implementing the Control of Horses Act. To date this year, almost €2m has been provided for this purpose.

The Animal Health & Welfare Bill which I am bringing forward consolidates a wide range of existing legislation. As such, it will apply in a wide range of situations affecting the welfare of animals and will be enforceable by a range of state bodies such as An Garda, customs officers and local authorities. The Animal Health & Welfare Bill sets out general horizontal rules on health and welfare that will apply to all animals. The Animal Health & Welfare Bill does not set out detailed rules for individual species or sectors. These can be dealt with through a variety of means such as Codes Of Practice, Regulations or other primary legislation which can lay down more detailed laws for different species in certain cases such as, for example, The Control of Horses Act. This Act already contains provisions enabling the local authorities to stable horses prior to determining their status. I should add that all owners or persons in charge of premises where horses are kept are required to register these premises under the Diseases of Animals (Registration of Equine Premises) Order 2012 (SI No 8 of 2012).

Single Payment Scheme Application Numbers

 413. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if he will provide in tabular form a breakdown on a county basis of the number of farmers who received single payment in 2011 in each of the categories €100,00 or more, €75,000 and less than €100,000, €50,000 and less than €75,000, €25,000 and less than €50,000, €10,000 and less than €25,000, €5,000 and less than €10,000, €2,000 and less than €5,000, less than €2,000; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55510/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The data sought by the Deputy are as follows:

COUNTY
Less than €2,000
€2,000-€,5000
€5,000-€10,000
€10,000-€25,000
€25,000-€50,000
€50,000-€75,000
€75,000-€100,000
Greater than €100,000
CARLOW
168
268
370
545
217
47
12
11
CAVAN
956
1,322
1,273
1,045
126
21
5
2
CLARE
919
1,601
1,914
1,395
179
22
9
2
CORK
1,494
2,109
3,142
4,417
1,364
232
59
30
DONEGAL
2,564
2,633
1,532
980
203
37
12
13
DUBLIN
95
144
120
162
65
22
7
7
GALWAY
2,831
3,208
3,324
2,197
267
25
12
2
KERRY
1,432
2,009
2,200
1,667
267
25
5
1
KILDARE
274
331
410
611
276
69
24
18
KILKENNY
298
434
709
1,292
565
101
20
10
LAOIS
351
480
633
1,004
357
65
17
9
LEITRIM
851
1,254
864
354
32
4
1
2
LIMERICK
863
1,026
1,311
1,512
329
52
8
5
LONGFORD
409
631
660
536
103
12
8
0
LOUTH
267
303
322
384
141
41
15
12
MAYO
2,761
4,057
3,083
1,326
99
9
2
1
MEATH
533
741
766
1,037
436
101
51
39
MONAGHAN
727
1,078
1,115
876
139
16
1
0
OFFALY
463
549
736
902
285
52
14
11
ROSCOMMON
1,027
1,681
1,666
1,088
164
15
6
1
SLIGO
932
1,311
1,057
551
49
9
1
0
TIPPERARY
688
960
1,667
2,459
906
140
58
23
WATERFORD
231
326
505
863
362
85
19
11
WESTMEATH
471
592
713
843
236
56
11
9
WEXFORD
420
530
883
1,454
578
91
29
16
WICKLOW
253
371
511
609
253
41
10
8
                 
TOTAL
22,278
29,949
31,486
30,109
7,998
1,390
416
243

Single Payment Scheme Application Numbers

 414. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if he will provide in tabular form on a county basis a breakdown of the number of farmers who have single farm payment entitlements in excess of €1,000 per hectare; the number of farmers with entitlements of between €500 per hectare and less than €1,000 per hectare; the number that have entitlements of between €250 per hectare and less than €500 per hectare; the number with entitlements of less than €100 per hectare and €250 per hectare; the number with entitlements of less than €100; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55511/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The 2010 SPS payment database, which my Department has used to model various CAP reform proposals, shows the following distribution of SPS by county and by payment per hectare category:

Breakdown of 2010 SPS payment recipients by county

Payment per hectare category Less than €100/ha €100-€250/ha €250-€500/ha €500-€1000/ha Over €1,000/ha Total
CARLOW 98 382 986 157 4 1627
CAVAN 906 1700 2198 209 4 5017
CLARE 955 2906 2305 153 2 6321
CORK 1584 3585 6685 1274 41 13169
DONEGAL 3485 3546 1520 207 14 8772
DUBLIN 98 226 289 26 1 640
GALWAY 2984 4227 4947 445 8 12611
KERRY 2142 3397 2245 237 5 8026
KILDARE 273 593 1078 155 8 2107
KILKENNY 247 707 2114 411 14 3493
LAOIS 276 673 1629 378 14 2970
LEITRIM 931 2103 571 30   3635
LIMERICK 816 1901 2254 291 9 5271
LONGFORD 352 856 1156 115 1 2480
LOUTH 155 410 826 114 8 1513
MAYO 3165 5018 3678 206 2 12069
MEATH 476 1012 1931 366 16 3801
MONAGHAN 608 1169 2050 382 11 4220
OFFALY 467 993 1401 266 8 3135
ROSCOMMON 950 2555 2283 210 5 6003
SLIGO 940 2071 1137 70   4218
TIPPERARY 737 1850 3707 784 28 7106
WATERFORD 284 630 1308 251 9 2482
WESTMEATH 512 1018 1352 177 4 3063
WEXFORD 275 806 2560 387 4 4032
WICKLOW 326 771 932 100 1 2130
Total 24042 45105 53142 7401 221 129911

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Payments

 415. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney when a person (details supplied) in County Galway will be paid their 2012 disadvantaged area payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55518/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney As processing of the 2012 Disadvantaged Areas Scheme application has recently been finalised, payment will shortly issue to the nominated bank account.

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Payments

 416. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will be paid their 2012 disadvantaged area payment and single farm payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55519/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney As the person named does not hold any Single Payment entitlements, no payment is due under this Scheme.

As regards the 2012 Disadvantaged Areas Scheme, it was not possible to process the application because of issues relating to the validity of the herd number declared. My Department has been in direct contact with the person named with a view to clarifying this aspect and the application cannot be further processed until this is resolved.

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Payments

 417. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney when a person (details supplied) in County Galway will be paid their 2012 disadvantaged area payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55520/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The person named is an applicant under the 2012 Single Payment and Disadvantaged Areas Schemes.

In order to comply with EU requirements, the application was one of a number which was selected for inspection. Following the completion of the inspection and related processes, an over-claim was confirmed. A letter issued on 7 December to the person concerned outlining how the over-claim arose and explaining the appeals procedure in place.

Payments due under both the Disadvantaged Areas Scheme and the Single Payment Scheme issued directly to the nominated bank account on 11 December.

Registration of Title

 418. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the position regarding an application for registration as owners on site transferred subject of a Land Commission re-arrangement (details supplied). [55535/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The position is that this is a complex and technically challenging re-arrangement of land where there are title and mapping issues which have to be resolved. My Department is responsible for the vesting of 67 re-arranged plots in relation to 14 exchange agreements all of which are inter-dependent for registration purposes. No one individual can be vested in isolation. The case is being actively worked on and my officials are aware of the subsequent site transfer awaiting registration completion.

Farm Inspections

 419. Deputy Noel Grealish Information on Noel Grealish Zoom on Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney when payments of grants will issue to those who have had satellite inspections carried out on their farms; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55537/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney In accordance with EU legislation governing the payment of area based aid, in particular, Council Regulation 73/2009 and Commission Regulation (EC) No. 1122/2009, it is necessary for Member States to carry out on-the-spot land eligibility inspections on at least 5% of all farmers submitting a single payment scheme application. In carrying out these land eligibility inspections, Member States may make use of satellite imagery. My Department makes use of such imagery to carry out a proportion of land eligibility inspections.

When the available images do not permit a satisfactory verification of the land use or area of a parcel(s) applied for by an applicant, perhaps due to cloud cover, it is an EU requirement that a ground inspection must take place. These inspections are generally limited to verifying the area of the particular parcel(s) where the position is unclear from the imagery available (unless 80% or more of the area was unclear). The results obtained are used, in combination with the satisfactory satellite imagery, to finalise the eligibility inspection of the entire areas declared.

The cases concerned are then processed to finality as quickly as possible, thereby allowing the payments concerned to issue without undue delay.

Agri-Environment Options Scheme Payments

 420. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney when payment will issue under the 2012 agri-environment options scheme to a person (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [55551/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The person named was approved for participation in the 2011 Agri-Environment Options Scheme with effect from the 1 September 2011 and full payment totalling €1,223.24 issued in respect of 2011.

Under the EU Regulations governing the Scheme and other area-based payment schemes, a comprehensive administrative check, including cross-checks with the Land Parcel Identification System, must be completed before any payment can issue. Payment in respect of the 2012 Scheme year is subject to a similar administrative checking process which includes verification of capital investment through checks on receipts. These checks have been completed and I expect that 75% payment in respect of 2012 will issue shortly to the person named. The balancing 25% payment will issue shortly thereafter.


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