Houses of the Oireachtas

All parliamentary debates are now being published on our new website. The publication of debates on this website will cease in December 2018.

Go to oireachtas.ie

 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 180-194
 Header Item Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Appeals
 Header Item Single Payment Scheme Appeals
 Header Item Agriculture Schemes Appeals
 Header Item Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Appeals
 Header Item National Milk Agency
 Header Item Departmental Correspondence
 Header Item Budget 2013
 Header Item Suckler Welfare Scheme Extension
 Header Item Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Payments
 Header Item Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Payments
 Header Item Rural Environment Protection Scheme Payments
 Header Item Departmental Contracts
 Header Item Agriculture Schemes Payments
 Header Item Agriculture Schemes Payments
 Header Item Agriculture Schemes Appeals

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 786 No. 2

First Page Previous Page Page of 90 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 180-194

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Appeals

 180. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the position regarding an appeal on stocking density in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55721/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The person named is one of a number, their derogation application having been unsuccessful, who were offered the option to appeal to the independently chaired DAS Appeals Committee. To date, this option has not been availed of. Should the applicant choose to appeal, it will be referred to the DAS Appeals Committee.

Single Payment Scheme Appeals

 181. 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 if a decision has been made on an appeal for single farm payment in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55723/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney An application under the 2012 Single Payment/Disadvantaged Areas Schemes was received from the person named on 24th April 2012.

  In order to comply with EU requirements, the applicant was one of a number selected for inspection. This inspection resulted in findings of an over-declaration in area of between 3% and 20% under the Single Payment Scheme and an over-declaration in More Severe Lowland area of 5.01% under the Disadvantaged Areas Scheme, which, under the terms and conditions of the Schemes, resulted in reduced payments under both.

  The applicant was notified of this outcome and the reason for it. A request for a review has been received and is currently being examined. The applicant will be notified as soon as possible of the outcome of this review, which can be appealed to the independent Agriculture Appeals Office within 3 months of the date of the review.

Agriculture Schemes Appeals

 182. 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 if a decision has been made on an appeal for an area payment in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55724/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney While the person named submitted an application for derogation, supporting documentation to further process the application was requested by my Department. Immediately the documentation in question is received, the application in question will be reviewed and the person named notified of the decision, in writing.

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Appeals

 183. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the position regarding an appeal under the disadvantaged area scheme in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Wexford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55726/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The person named is one of a number, their derogation application having been unsuccessful, who were offered the option to appeal to the independently chaired DAS Appeals Committee. To date, this option has not been availed of. Should the applicant choose to appeal, it will be referred to the DAS Appeals Committee.

National Milk Agency

 184. 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 if the remit of the National Milk Agency could be extended in order that it would be able to control the price paid for liquid milk, not only to farmers by the processors, but also by the retailers to the milk processors; if he will ensure that all stages in the chain have a price input from the National Milk Agency and to ensure a fair price for everybody; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55767/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The National Milk Agency, which operates under the aegis of my Department, does not have a role in setting the retail price of milk. The Agency was set up in 1994 to ensure an indigenous year round supply of milk for liquid consumption. All farmers supplying milk for liquid consumption in the winter months do so under contracts with processors which must be registered with the Agency. Farmers supplying milk in the winter months are paid a premium over the price paid to farmers who only produce milk in the spring-autumn period. This premium reflects the additional costs of producing milk in the winter months.

There is a general prohibition of price fixing under EU and Irish competition law. While prices paid for products in the marketplace are a function of a number of market forces and the negotiation of commercial contracts is essentially a matter for the contracting parties, the Programme for Government contains a specific commitment to enact fair trade legislation in the retail sector so as to ensure balance between various players in the grocery goods sector. This comes under the remit of the Minister for Enterprise, Jobs and Innovation. I understand that legislation is currently being prepared to allow for the introduction of a statutory Code of Practice to regulate particular practices in the grocery trade.

At EU level I understand that the high level group on better functioning of the Food Supply Chain has asked the Expert Business to Business Platform to make recommendations on a Community wide approach. The Platform has drafted guidelines of good practice but has not yet reached agreement on implementation. Discussions are continuing.

Departmental Correspondence

 185. 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 his plans to ask farmers who ring his Department, for some sort of identification, such as their PPSN, to ensure that those ringing are the person's they claim to be and to ensure security of information in relation to clients of his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55778/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney My Department ensures that personal data held for the administration of its schemes and services is protected in accordance with Data Protection legislation. Customers who contact my Department by phone to seek information relating to their personal data must first of all satisfy officials as to their identity. Farmer customers, for example, will be asked for a unique identifier provided by the Department, such as a Herd Number or a REPS Number. Further information known only to the customer may also be requested.

Budget 2013

 186. Deputy Denis Naughten Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if he has evaluated the combined impact of the budget cuts on farm holdings in the west of Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55780/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Budget 2013 recognises the key role that agriculture and the agrifood industry has to play in Ireland’s economic recovery. The measures introduced build on those introduced in Budget 2012 and will enable the sector to continue its success in realising the objectives of Food Harvest 2020.

  100% Stamp Duty Relief and 100% stock relief for Young Trained Farmers are both being extended, as is the ordinary 25% stock relief for other farmers.

  I am also happy that new Capital Gains Tax provisions have been introduced to facilitate restructuring of farm land parcels. When taken together with the large reduction in Stamp Duty last year this measure should encourage farmers to restructure their holdings to improve efficiency.

  These taxation measures will directly benefit farmers in the West of Ireland and elsewhere.

  The tax changes in Budget 2013 incentivise inter-generational land transfer and facilitate farm re-structuring to improve efficiency. This is a clear message of support to the many dynamic younger farmers who plan to expand production over the coming years that I want to help them achieve their ambitions. These changes will also help the sector realise the Food Harvest 2020 targets and increase agrifood exports.

  Budget 2013 was a difficult one for the Government, involving many tough decisions. Although constrained by tight budgetary disciplines imposed right across the economy, I was determined to minimise the impact of the scale of the reduction so that the most important schemes and programmes which the sector relies upon most were protected to the greatest extent possible.

  I am pleased to say that, through re-orientating and re-scheduling payments, I have managed to fund new schemes and programmes while also reducing the scale of savings to a lower amount of €89 million compared to 2012, while protecting farm incomes. The 2013 budget reflects a significant Exchequer commitment of support for the agrifood sector and is recognition of the contribution which the sector can make to economic recovery and future growth. Of particular interest to farmers in the West of Ireland is the increased allocation of €195 million in support of disadvantaged area payments. This was done to underline my commitment to the protection of income for smaller farmers and protect farmers in disadvantages areas. I have decided to focus on the protection of the smaller and most disadvantaged, including mountain sheep holdings whose payments will remain unchanged next year. In order to make the necessary adjustment, I intend to reduce the maximum area payable from 34 to 30 hectares. This will not be applied to farmers in mountain areas.  These measures will mean that 72% of farmers will have no change in their income resulting from this change.

Suckler Welfare Scheme Extension

 187. Deputy Denis Naughten Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if he has evaluated the long term economic impact of the closure of the suckler cow welfare scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55781/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The Suckler Cow Welfare Scheme was a five-year Scheme which is ending on 31 December 2012. I have, however, made funding of €10 million available for this Scheme in 2013. These funds will be used to continue to pay calves born the herds of Scheme participants when they become eligible for payment. Payments in respect of 2012 born calves, which are now eligible for payment, will commence next week. Taking into account payments of €22 million, which will be issued in respect of 2012 born calves, the Exchequer will have paid €158 million in total under this Scheme. This is a very substantial contribution to the very important beef sector.

I am, therefore, pleased that a Value for Money Audit, which was undertaken in accordance with the Department of Finance Value for Money and Policy Review Initiative, established that the Scheme has largely achieved these objectives. The 34,000 participants, who continued in the Scheme over its five-year duration, are fully aware that following best practice in the breeding, animal health/welfare aspects and rearing of suckler calves leads to better prices and demand at weanling sale time.

It was important to build on progress made under the lifetime of the Suckler Cow Welfare Scheme. Therefore, I have allocated €10 million in 2013, financed from unspent Single Farm Payment Funds for a new support programme for suckler farmers to participate in a new Beef Data Programme. When taken together with residual payments of €10 million under the Suckler Cow Welfare Scheme, this will amount to €20 million in direct payments to suckler farmers in 2013. This programme will assist farmers in improving the genetic quality of Irish cattle and will maintain the data flow into ICBF in order to build further knowledge and more rapid progress in breeding and ultimately in profitability for farmers. In addition, the sum of €5 million has been set aside to support the continuation for another year of the Beef Technology Adaptation Programme, a scheme that provides beef farmers with better information and improved skills to increase profitability on farms.

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Payments

 188. Deputy Colm Keaveney Information on Colm Keaveney Zoom on Colm Keaveney 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 may expect to receive their headage payment. [55804/12]

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

 189. 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 the reason a person (details supplied) in County Galway has not received their disadvantaged area scheme payment for 2012 in view of the fact that their stocking was curtailed as a result of their participation in the REP scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55806/12]

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, with due regard having been taken of the stocking restriction, payment will shortly issue to the nominated bank account.

Rural Environment Protection Scheme Payments

 190. Deputy Tom Hayes Information on Tom Hayes Zoom on Tom Hayes asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney when a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary will receive payment in respect of the rural environment protection scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55820/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The person named commenced REPS 4 in April 2008 and has received payments for the first four years of their contract.

  REPS 4 is a measure under the 2007-13 Rural Development Programme and is subject to EU Regulations which require detailed administrative checks on all applications to be completed before any payments can issue. This process has been completed for the 2012 REPS 4 application of the person named and the 75% Year 5 payment issued on 10th December 2012 for the amount of €5115.30. The remaining 25% balancing payment will issue shortly.

Departmental Contracts

 191. Deputy Damien English Information on Damien English Zoom on Damien English asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if he will provide details of each service in his Department that is currently outsourced; the company that provides such services and the total cost for these services; the other services which may be outsourced in the future that are currently being run in his Department; the names of the companies, fees paid and nature of service for all contracts awarded from his Department excluding legal, accounting, PR or building refurbishment related services since March 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55825/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney It is not possible to provide this information in the required time. I will forward it to the Deputy as soon as it is available.

Agriculture Schemes Payments

 192. Deputy Tom Fleming Information on Tom Fleming Zoom on Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney when a REP scheme and disadvantaged area scheme payment will issue in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55837/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Payment under the 2012 Disadvantaged Areas Scheme has not yet issued as, at this stage, the holding concerned has not yet satisfied the Scheme minimum stocking density requirements for 2012. Immediately the holding concerned is confirmed as having met these requirements, the case will be further processed with a view to payment at the earliest possible date thereafter.

  The person named commenced REPS 4 in May 2008 and received payments for the first four years of their contract.

REPS 4 is a measure under the current 2007-13 Rural Development Programme and is subject to EU Regulations which require detailed administrative checks on all applications to be completed before any payments can issue. This process has been completed in this case and the 75% Year 5 payment amounting to €7286.22 has been issued for payment on 10th December 2012. The remaining 25% balancing payment will issue shortly .

Agriculture Schemes Payments

 193. 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 disadvantage area payment and their single farm payment for 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55853/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney In order to comply with EU requirements, the application of the person named was one of a number selected for inspection. The inspection and related processes have been finalised and payments under both schemes will shortly issue to the nominated bank account.

Agriculture Schemes Appeals

 194. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney further to Parliamentary Question No. 547 of 27 November 2012, the criteria used by the agricultural appeals office to deem the two appeals successful; the grounds on which the appeals were submitted under; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55899/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney As the grounds for the decisions by the Agriculture Appeals Office in the two cases concerned are quite detailed, I will forward copies of the Appeals Office decisions to the Deputy with the personal details of the applicants concerned removed.


Last Updated: 06/05/2020 11:57:20 First Page Previous Page Page of 90 Next Page Last Page