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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 488-508
 Header Item Naturalisation Applications
 Header Item Garda Resources
 Header Item Garda Resources
 Header Item Garda Transport Provision
 Header Item Proposed Legislation
 Header Item Defence Forces Personnel
 Header Item Defence Forces Personnel
 Header Item Departmental Staff Remuneration
 Header Item European Council Meetings
 Header Item International Agreements
 Header Item Pension Provisions
 Header Item Horse and Greyhound Fund
 Header Item Single Payment Scheme Application Numbers
 Header Item Single Payment Scheme Application Numbers
 Header Item Departmental Staff Retirements
 Header Item Census of Agriculture
 Header Item Animal Welfare Issues
 Header Item Agriculture Schemes Payments
 Header Item Agrifood Sector Issues

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 787 No. 3

First Page Previous Page Page of 96 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 488-508

Naturalisation Applications

 488. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if a visa will be extended in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; if this person is entitled to apply for a work permit; if this person is entitled to apply for naturalisation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56909/12]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I have been informed by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) that the person referred to by the Deputy was first registered on 27 April 2005 and has permission to remain in the State on Stamp 3 conditions until 11 May 2013. 

  An application for a certificate of naturalisation was received from the person concerned in October, 2011. The application is being processed with a view to establishing whether the applicant meets the statutory conditions for the granting of naturalisation, such as good character and lawful residence, and will be submitted to me for decision as expeditiously as possible.

  As well as being a significant event in the life of its recipient, the granting of Irish citizenship through naturalisation as provided for in law is also a major step for the State which confers certain rights and entitlements not only within the State but also at European Union level and it is important that appropriate procedures are in place to preserve the integrity of the process.

  Work permits are dealt with by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. If the person referred to by the Deputy wishes to apply for a work permit she should contact that Department.

  Queries in relation to general immigration matters may be made directly to INIS by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response from INIS is, in the Deputy's view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Garda Resources

 489. Deputy Micheál Martin Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if his attention has been drawn to the concern in Kingswood Heights, Dublin 24 that Garda services to the area are still being provided from two Garda districts in Clondalkin and Tallaght despite previous commitments that Garda services to Kingswood Heights would be the responsibility of one station; if he will finally resolve the situation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56933/12]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The Deputy will be aware that the Commissioner is responsible for the detailed allocation of resources, including personnel, throughout the organisation and I have no direct function in the matter. This allocation of resources is constantly monitored in the context of crime trends, policing needs and other operational strategies in place on a District, Divisional and Regional level to ensure optimum use is made of Garda resources and the best possible Garda service is provided to the public.

I have been informed by the Commissioner that the personnel strength of Tallaght and Clondalkin Districts on 30 November 2012, the latest date for which figures are readily available, was 262 and 214 respectively. There are also 12 Reserve Gardaí and 13 Civilians attached to the Tallaght District while there are 4 Reserve Gardaí and 13 Civilians attached to the Clondalkin District. The area in question is covered by both the Tallaght Garda District and Clondalkin Garda sub-district, with the majority of the residential areas served by members attached to Tallaght Garda District, with the industrial units falling within Clondalkin Garda sub-District. Current policing policy is predicated on the prevention of public order offences and the prevention of crime including crimes of violence against persons and property. There are regular patrols in the area by uniform and plain-clothes personnel, including the Community Policing and Garda Mountain Bike Units, District Detective and Drug Unit personnel, supplemented as necessary by the Divisional Crime Task Force and Traffic Corps personnel. Meetings are also held on a regular basis with Residents Associations.

Local Garda Management closely monitors the patrols and other operational strategies in place, in conjunction with crime trends and policing needs of the communities in these areas to ensure optimum use is made of Garda resources, that current structures in place meet the requirements of the delivery of an effective and efficient policing service to the residents concerned and that the best possible Garda service is provided to the public. The situation will be kept under review.

Garda Resources

 490. Deputy Micheál Martin Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if he will provide additional resources to the Garda Siochána at Tallaght Garda Station, Dublin 24 to allow an effective responses to the increase in burglaries in the Tallaght district; if he will give assurances to the community; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [56934/12]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The Deputy will be aware that the Commissioner is responsible for the detailed allocation of resources, including personnel, throughout the organisation and I have no direct function in the matter. This allocation of resources is constantly monitored in the context of crime trends, policing needs and other operational strategies in place on a District, Divisional and Regional level to ensure optimum use is made of Garda resources and the best possible Garda service is provided to the public.

  I have however been informed by the Garda Commissioner that the personnel strength of Tallaght Garda Station on 30 November 2012, the latest date for which figures are readily available, was 188. Tallaght Garda Station forms part of the Tallaght Garda District in the D.M.R. South Garda Division. The personnel strength of the D.M.R. South on the same date was 591. There are also 12 Garda Reserves and 29 civilians attached to the D.M.R. South Garda Division.

  Furthermore, I have been informed that there are regular patrols in the area by uniform and plain-clothes personnel, including the Community Policing and Garda Mountain Bike Units, District Detective and Drug Unit personnel, supplemented as necessary by the Divisional Crime Task Force and Traffic Corps personnel. Meetings are also held on a regular basis with Residents Associations.

Garda Transport Provision

 491. Deputy Michael Lowry Information on Michael Lowry Zoom on Michael Lowry asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the number of Garda patrol vehicles available to An Garda Síochána in each district of the division of Tipperary; the number of vehicles that were available to these districts in 2010 and 2011 respectively; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56940/12]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter Decisions in relation to the provision and deployment of Garda transport are matters for the Garda Commissioner. Responsibility for the efficient deployment of Garda vehicles in each Division is assigned to the Divisional Officer, who may allocate vehicles between stations as required by operational circumstances.

  I have been advised by the Garda authorities that the information requested by the Deputy in respect of the Tipperary Division is provided in the following table:

Garda District 2010 2011 2012
CAHIR 13 10 11
CLONMEL 11 10 9
NENAGH 8 8 5
TEMPLEMORE 8 7 7
THURLES 15 14 10
TIPPERARY 4 4 3
Total 59 53 45


  I am also advised by the Garda authorities that the detailed allocation of vehicles is determined through a process of ongoing analysis of operational requirements. In addition, they have informed me that the current policing arrangements for the Tipperary Division are making the best use of available resources. Moreover, the Garda authorities have indicated that the needs of the Division will continue to be examined as additional resources become available.

  In that context, the Deputy will be aware that 170 new Garda vehicles have recently been ordered on foot of an investment of €3 million. These vehicles are due to begin coming on stream in the coming weeks. In addition, a further €5 million is being made available for the purchase and fit-out of new Garda vehicles in 2013. This level of expenditure, at a time of severe budgetary constraint, represents a very significant investment in Garda transport and I have no doubt that the additional funding   will considerably strengthen the overall effectiveness of the Force in delivering a policing service to communities throughout the country.

Proposed Legislation

 492. Deputy Eoghan Murphy Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the timeframe for the enactment of changes to family law legislation that are expected following the passing of the children's rights referendum.  [57095/12]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The Programme for Government commitment to reform and modernise aspects of family law will be progressed as soon as possible having regard to the need for consultations and the need to dispose of urgent legislative matters in my Department under the EU/IMF Programme of Financial Support for the State.

  As I indicated in response to Question No. 66 of 11 December 2012, I am considering the detailed recommendations of the Law Reform Commission in its Report on the Legal Aspects of Family Relationships.  In particular, the Commission recommends that legislative provisions be introduced to facilitate the extension of guardianship (parental responsibility) to civil partners and step-parents either by agreement with the other parties who have parental responsibility for the child or by application to court.

  With a view to comprehensively addressing this area of the law, I am presently engaged in the preparation of a Family Relationships and Children's Bill. In that context, I am considering the Commission's specific recommendations on legislative reform, which will put same-sex couples and step-parents on an equal footing with other couples in relation to their children. I am also reviewing existing legislation worldwide addressing the issues of parentage, assisted human reproduction and surrogacy and considering the recommendations contained in the Report of the Commission on Assisted Human Reproduction published by the Department of Health in 2005. Those reforms must ensure that children in lesbian or gay family units are able to form a legal connection with their non-biological parent and that kindred relationships flow from such legal connection. In particular, reform of the law is needed in the areas of guardianship, custody and access, and to ensure maintenance and inheritance rights for the children of civil partners.

Defence Forces Personnel

 493. Deputy John O'Mahony Information on John O'Mahony Zoom on John O'Mahony asked the Minister for Defence Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if a section of the public and civil service (details supplied) will be included in the new redundancy package recently announced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56207/12]

Minister for Defence (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform is currently considering the introduction of a targeted Voluntary Redundancy Scheme in parts of the Public Service, primarily to address the issue of staff surpluses where staff cannot be redeployed within the system. Given the fact that the Defence Forces are currently below strength and that recruitment is ongoing, there are no plans to introduce a voluntary redundancy scheme for the Defence Forces at this time.

Defence Forces Personnel

 494. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Defence Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the position regarding the proposal to provide a very early retirement scheme for border troops and FCA members; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [56331/12]

Minister for Defence (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform is currently considering the introduction of a targeted Voluntary Redundancy Scheme in parts of the Public Service, primarily to address the issue of staff surpluses, where such staff cannot be redeployed within the system. I am not aware of any proposal for the introduction of a separate early retirement scheme or that consideration is being given to same. Given the fact that the Defence Forces are currently below strength and that recruitment is ongoing, there are no plans to introduce a voluntary redundancy or an early retirement scheme for the Defence Forces at this time.

Departmental Staff Remuneration

 495. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Defence Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the date on which he intends to review the salary grading structure of the public service as it affects his Department as committed to in the programme for Government.  [56382/12]

Minister for Defence (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The Government decision on the Department of Expenditure and Reform’s Review of Allowances and Premium Payments recognised that there are possible weaknesses in the pay structures applicable in the Defence Forces as these structures have evolved over very many years and have become increasingly complex. It was therefore decided that a review of the overall pay structures for the Defence Forces is merited, in the medium term, to ensure that the pay structure is appropriate and cost effective for a modern military force. It is my intention that such a review of pay structures will take place after the reviews of Security Duty Allowance and Technical Pay, currently being conducted as part of the Defence Sector Action Plan under the Croke Park Agreement, have been completed.

European Council Meetings

 496. Deputy Simon Harris Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris asked the Minister for Defence Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the formations of the EU Councils of Ministers on which he sits; the number of meetings of that Council held from 9 March 2011 to date in 2012; the number of those meetings he attended; the number attended by a Minister of State; the number attended by an Irish official; and if he will provide the names of those who attended in tabular form. [56544/12]

Minister for Defence (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter During each European Union Presidency both formal and informal meetings of Defence Ministers are held.  There is no separate Defence Ministers' Council within the EU Council of Ministers. However, twice a year - once during each Presidency - Defence Ministers attend the formal Foreign Affairs Council in Defence Ministers’ Format. These Council meetings are held in Brussels or Luxembourg at the invitation of the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Baroness Catherine Ashton.

  Since 9 March, 2011 there have been four such meetings on 23 May 2011, 30 November 2011, 22 March 2012 and 19 November 2012. Personally, I was only in a position to attend the meetings held on 30 November, 2011 and 19 November 2012. The meeting on 23 May 2011 coincided with the visit to Ireland of President Obama during which both my Departments were engaged in a range of security issues. I was not in a position to attend the meeting on 22 March 2012 as I was in Australia and New Zealand for the St. Patrick’s Day Programme. Neither of these meetings were attended by a Minister of State on my behalf. Instead, they were attended, on my behalf, by the Secretary General of my Department. The delegation at each of these meetings is contained in the attached tabular statement.

  As part of Ireland’s Presidency of the Council of the EU during the first half of 2013, I will host an Informal Meeting of Minister of Defence in Dublin Castle on 12-13 February 2013.

Meeting Date Position
    Secretary General, Department of Defence
    Defence Policy Director, Department of Defence
    Ambassador to the Political and Security Committee, Brussels
    Military Representative to the European Union Military Committee, Brussels
Foreign Affairs Council with Ministers of Defence 23rd May 2011 Defence Counsellor, Permanent Representation of Ireland to the European Union, Brussels
    Minister for Defence
    Defence Policy Director, Department of Defence
    Ambassador to the Political and Security Committee, Brussels
    Deputy Military Representative to the European Union Military Committee, Brussels
Foreign Affairs Council with Ministers of Defence 30th November 2011 Defence Counsellor, Permanent Representation of Ireland to the European Union, Brussels
    Secretary General, Department of Defence
    Deputy Defence Policy Director, Dept Defence
    Ambassador to the Political and Security Committee, Brussels
Foreign Affairs Council with Ministers of Defence 22nd March 2012 Defence Counsellor, Permanent Representation of Ireland to the European Union, Brussels
    Minister for Defence
    Defence Policy Director, Department of Defence
    Ambassador to the Political and Security Committee, Brussels
Foreign Affairs Council with Ministers of Defence 19th November 2012 Military Representative to the European Union Military Committee, Brussels
    Defence Counsellor, Permanent Representation of Ireland to the European Union, Brussels
Foreign Affairs Council with Ministers of Defence 19th November 2012 (continued) Assistant Principal, International Security and Defence Policy, Department of Defence

International Agreements

 497. Deputy Seán Crowe Information on Seán Crowe Zoom on Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if, considering recent progress on an EU-Morocco Fisheries Partnership Agreement, he will guarantee that he will not support any move to allow this agreement to be signed during Ireland's Presidency of the Council of the European Union, due to the reservations of the Sahrawi people who have been ignored in these discussions. [56841/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney In January 2012, the EU Commission introduced a draft negotiating mandate for a new protocol for the EU Morocco Fisheries Agreement. The mandate sought to conclude a protocol which would oblige Morocco to comply with international law and to report regularly on its use of the funds for the population concerned, including the people of the Western Sahara. A Council decision of 14 February 2012 authorised the opening of negotiations with Morocco on a new protocol to the Fisheries Partnership Agreement and subsequent contacts with the Moroccan authorities.

  Ireland supported the opening of new negotiations subject to a joint statement with Germany and Slovenia to the effect:

Germany, Ireland and Slovenia would have preferred an explicit reference to Western Sahara in the mandate. Germany's, Ireland’s and Slovenia’s acceptance of the mandate does not, in any way, pre-empt our final position on any draft Protocol that will eventually be submitted for approval. The attitude of each of the above Member States to the draft Protocol will be determined by the extent to which the rights of the people of Western Sahara are protected in accordance with international law and the extent of the related reporting requirements that must be fulfilled by Morocco.

 The first round of negotiations on new Fisheries Protocol with Morocco convened in Rabat on 7th – 10th November 2012 with the next round set to take place this week in Brussels, and a further round pencilled in for January 2013 in Rabat during Ireland’s Presidency. Ireland’s position in relation to the Western Sahara is consistent with and takes its lead from the UN position which wishes to broker a compromise and a way forward. Any decision on Ireland supporting the future ratification of new protocol to the FPA   with Morocco will be made having due consideration to all issues and in particular the qualifications outlined in the joint statement.

Pension Provisions

 498. Deputy John McGuinness Information on John McGuinness Zoom on John McGuinness asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if a former employee of his Department is entitled to draw their pension now; if there is any arrangement to cash in his pension or transfer same. [56984/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The person to whom the Deputy refers retired under the Cost Neutral Early Retirement scheme on the 29 February 2012 and received a lump sum in early March 2012. His pension is payable fortnightly by the Paymaster General's Office with effect from 1 March 2012 and it is not possible to pay his pension in any other manner.

Horse and Greyhound Fund

 499. Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the reason the greyhound and horse raising industries are being subsidised to the tune of €55 million while the respite care grant is cut by €26 million; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [56998/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Exchequer support is provided annually to Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) and Bord na gCon (BNG) as commercial State Bodies established under legislation in 2001 and in 1958 to develop the bloodstock and greyhound industries, respectively.

The Irish bloodstock industry and greyhound industries are estimated to support approximately 28,000 jobs and provide €1.4bn in economic output. Both are export orientated industries and provide employment in rural areas. Ireland is the fourth largest producer of thoroughbreds in the world, producing 40% of the EU output, and 11% of the world’s total. Over two thirds of the production of Irish thoroughbreds is exported each year to over 35 countries around the world, with a total value of over €150m last year.

In providing financial assistance to both State Bodies, successive Governments have recognised the economic importance and world class standing of these industries and the very substantial support provided to the bloodstock industries in competitor countries. Both industries provide a very good return in terms of employment, direct foreign investment, exports and in attracting tourism.

Financial support is provided through the Horse and Greyhound Racing Fund (the Fund), which was established under the Horse and Greyhound Racing Act 2001, to HRI and BNG to assist them in carrying out their functions. The level of support has been reduced by 28% since 2008 due to budgetary constraints. The Minister for Finance has published the Betting (Amendment) Bill 2012 which when enacted will ensure the revenue generated from the betting industry will increase significantly thereby reducing further the net Exchequer contribution to the sector.

Single Payment Scheme Application Numbers

 500. 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 number of the top 100 beneficiaries who tested fewer than 50 cattle in their annual herd test in 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [56217/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney As it has not been possible to compile the information in the available timescale, my Department will forward it directly to the Deputy.

Single Payment Scheme Application Numbers

 501. 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 number of farmers who have no entitlement under the single farm payment; the number of cattle those farmers tested at their annual herd test in 2011; and the number of sheep they declared in their annual census. [56218/12]

 502. 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 number of farmers that had €5,000 or less entitlements under the single farm payment; the number of cattle those farmers tested at their annual herd test in 2011; and the number of sheep they declared in their annual census. [56219/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney I propose to take Questions Nos. 501 and 502 together.

  I presume the Deputy’s questions relate to the Department’s analysis of post-2013 CAP reform proposals. The various CAP reform proposals which have emerged have been modelled based on the 2010 Single Payment Scheme (SPS) database of actual payments to farmers in that year, rather than entitlements. This analysis excludes farms of less than three hectares. It should also be noted that farmers who did not apply for SPS in 2010 are not included in this analysis. Bearing in mind those caveats, the table below shows (a) the number of farmers with zero payments in 2010, but with eligible area and (b) the number of farmers with payments of greater than zero but less than €5,000 in 2010.

  Number of farmers Total area (ha) 2010 SPS payment €
Zero payment, but with eligible area 7,624 143,578 0
Payment greater than 0 and less than €5,000 50,337 934,628 124,451,337
  

Further time will be required to provide the information requested on cattle and sheep numbers relating to these farmers. My Department will communicate with the Deputy when this information is available.

Departmental Staff Retirements

 503. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the number of veterinary inspectors who availed of the early retirement scheme earlier this year that are currently working for his Department on a contract/agency or other basis in meat factories and on farms; the amount of money paid to them since they took early retirement; the timescale for when this practice will end and appropriate new staff employed in this area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56227/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney None of the Veterinary Inspectors who availed of early retirement from my Department this year have been re-engaged by my Department.

Census of Agriculture

 504. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the total number of full time, part time and commercial farmers currently operating here; the extent to which the numbers in each category have fluctuated over the past ten years to date in 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56252/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The Central Statistics Office’s Census of Agriculture 2010, released earlier this month, gives the most up-to-date picture in this regard as it classifies farmholders by whether farming is their Sole Occupation, a Major Occupation or Subsidiary Occupation. The table below shows this data in comparison to the previous (2000) Census of Agriculture and the intervening CSO National Farm Surveys.

  2000 2003 2005 2007 2010  
  Census of Agriculture CSO Farm Structures Survey CSO Farm Structures Survey CSO Farm Structures Survey Census of Agriculture Change 2000 to 2010
Sole Occupation 78,723 76,800 73,500 66,300 75,223 -4.45%
% of total 56% 58% 56% 52% 54%  
Major Occupation 19,643 18,600 19,700 22,400 20,258 3.13%
% of total 14% 14% 15% 18% 15%  
Subsidiary Occupation 42,976 36,800 37,200 37,700 44,075 2.56%
% of total 30% 28% 29% 30% 32%  
All Family Farms 141,342 132,200 130,400 126,400 139,556 -1.26%

Animal Welfare Issues

 505. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the degree to which pig and poultry farmers have managed to comply with regulations arising from animal welfare legislation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56253/12]

 506. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the total number of farmers who may not be in a position to comply with the 1 January 2013 deadline in respect of animal welfare regulations for whatever reason; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56254/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney I propose to take Questions Nos. 505 and 506 together.

Council Directive 2008/120/EC lays down minimum standards for the protection of pigs and enters into force on the 1 January 2013. My Department’s Veterinary Inspectors have been monitoring the situation on farms over recent months and the most recent survey carried out indicates 66% compliance level in terms of sow units. A further 16% of farmers have indicated that they will take measures to ensure compliance by 1 January 2013. It should be noted that Department Inspectors are continuing to liaise with sow producers to ensure compliance. I should add that, under the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme, an attractive grant aid system is in place to assist pig farmers to meet their objectives under this legislation.

Council Directive 1999/74/EC lays down minimum standards for the protection of laying hens and outlines, in particular, provisions applicable to un-enriched and enriched cage systems and alternative (non-cage) systems. The Directive provides that the rearing of laying hens in un-enriched cage systems be prohibited with effect from 1 January 2012. Officials from my Department engaged closely with all laying hen producers to ensure this requirement was met and I am satisfied that all producers are 100% compliant.

Council Directive 2007/43/EC lays down minimum rules for the protection of chickens kept for meat production. My Department has an ongoing programme of on-farm welfare inspections in place, including in relation to broiler farmers. Inspections carried out to date on these farms have identified areas that could be addressed and Department officials are working with the industry to ensure compliance with all aspects of the Directive. A series of Training Courses has been provided in recent weeks for broiler farmers to assist them with the implementation of the Directive.

Agriculture Schemes Payments

 507. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the extent to which, post budget, he expects the various categories of farmers to qualify for each farm support payment; his plans for the future in this regard; if he expects the projections outlined in Food Harvest 2020 to the affected; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56255/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Although constrained by tight budgetary disciplines which originally demanded a reduction of €114 million for next year, I was determined in finalising the Vote for my Department in 2013, to minimise the impact of the scale of the reductions so that the most important schemes and programmes were protected to the greatest possible extent. I am pleased to say I have managed to secure additional capital funding and thereby reduce the overall scale of savings to a lower amount of €89 million compared to 2012. The following is the situation in relation to the main schemes.

Disadvantaged Areas Schemes – Underlying my commitment to the protection of income for smaller farmers there is an increased allocation of €195m in support of Disadvantaged Area Schemes; while an adjustment will be required in 2013 I have decided that payments to the smaller and most disadvantaged farmers, including mountain sheep holdings will remain unchanged.

REPS and AEOS – Having announced a €20m AEOS 3 Scheme in September I have provided €61m in 2013 to fund the 3 AEOS Schemes. Under AEOS 3 priority will be given to farmers in designated areas. Payments in 2013 will be rescheduled but there will be no reduction to payments to existing AEOS and REPS participants.

Beef sector - Although the Suckler Cow Scheme 2008-2012 has come to an end, I have allocated an additional €10m in 2013 for a new support programme for Suckler beef farmers to participate in a new Beef Data Programme, which, when combined with residual payment of €10m under the Suckler Cow Welfare Scheme, will amount to €20m in payments to Suckler farmers in 2013. In addition, I have provided €5m to support the continuation of the Beef Technology Adaptation Programme.

Dairy – I have provided some €10m under TAMS for on-farm investments storage and facilities.

Sheep – I have extended the Grassland Sheep Scheme, which was due to expire at the end of this year, for a further year and, in addition, I have provided €3m to a new Sheep Technology Adoption Programme with a maximum payment of €1,000 per participant.

Pig Section – I have announced a number of amendments to the TAMS Sow Welfare Scheme and the provision of additional funding of up to €3m. These adjustments to both the Scheme and provision were designed to provide further assistance to pig farmers engaged in capital works necessary to comply with new regulations.

I have secured an increased capital allocation in 2013 of some €25m which enables a meaningful capital programme to be undertaken, particularly in providing support programmes in line with the targets of Food Harvest 2020. In addition to this direct financial support, I have secured agreement for a range of taxation reliefs that would link in with the key measures being pursued in Harvest 2020 for the growth and development of the agriculture, food and marine sectors.

These measures reflect the Government’s commitment to the agri-food industry and the expansion planned in the Food Harvest 2020 Strategy. I am also providing strong financial support for some €19m, for research across animal and crop production sustainability and food processing, traceability, safety and quality, consistent with the Think Green Act Smart, Achieve Growth principles of Food Harvest 2020. This research will play a key role in driving innovation within the bio-economy and contribute strongly to the growth targets in Food Harvest 2020. This provision builds on my recent announcement of €32m of grant Aid for 55 research projects focussing on sustainable food production, processing and forestry.

The 2013 budget reflects a significant Exchequer commitment of support for the agri-food sector and is recognition of the contribution which the sector can make to economic recovery and future growth.

Agrifood Sector Issues

 508. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the sectors of the agri food sector in respect of which he foresees growth or substantial growth over the next four years; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [56256/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The Food Harvest 2020 report set a growth value target of 33% to be achieved by 2020 for the primary sector and within that overall target the dairy and seafood sectors are areas where the most substantial growth is envisaged over the next four years.


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