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 Header Item Public Sector Allowances Payments (Continued)
 Header Item Written Answers Nos.530-550
 Header Item Animal Welfare Expenditure
 Header Item Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Payments
 Header Item Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Payments
 Header Item Agriculture Schemes Payments
 Header Item Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Applications
 Header Item Departmental Programmes
 Header Item Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Appeals
 Header Item European Council Meetings
 Header Item Forestry Grants
 Header Item Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Payments
 Header Item Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Payments
 Header Item Single Payment Scheme Appeals
 Header Item Rural Environment Protection Scheme Payments
 Header Item Departmental Expenditure
 Header Item Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Payments
 Header Item Single Payment Scheme Applications
 Header Item Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Payments
 Header Item Rural Environment Protection Scheme Payments
 Header Item Organic Farming
 Header Item Herd Numbers

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 787 No. 3

First Page Previous Page Page of 96 Next Page Last Page

  1 o’clock

Written Answers Nos.530-550

Animal Welfare Expenditure

 530. 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 funding will be provided to an animal rescue facility (details supplied) in County Tipperary; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56446/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney An application for ex-gratia funding has been received from the organisation in question. Provision of ex gratia assistance this year is subject to the availability of funds and the application will be considered in this context and having regard to competing claims for financial assistance submitted by other animal welfare bodies.

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Payments

 531. 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 disadvantaged area payment for 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56450/12]

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 issued to the person named on 17 December 2012, directly to the nominated bank account.

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Payments

 532. 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 disadvantaged area payment for 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56451/12]

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.

Agriculture Schemes Payments

 533. 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 who was selected for a satellite inspection, will be paid their disadvantaged area payment, single farm payment and other agricultural payments; the results of the inspection carried out; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56456/12]

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 Scheme was received from the person named on 2nd   March 2012.

  In order to comply with EU requirements, the applicant was one of a number selected for inspection. The outcome of the inspection process is that will not be any reduction in the herdowners declared eligible land under the 2012 Single Payment Scheme.

  The application is now fully processed and payment under the Single Payment / Disadvantaged Areas Scheme payment will shortly issue to the nominated bank account.

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Applications

 534. 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 fáth nár íocadh airgead le feirmeoir (sonraí tugtha) faoi scéim na limistéar faoi mhíbhuntáiste nó faoin íocaíocht aonair feirme do 2012; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [56457/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Eisíodh íocaíocht faoin Scéim um Limistéir faoi Mhíbhuntaiste 2012 ar an 17 Nollaig 2012, chuig cúntas bainc ainmnithe an duine ainmnithe.

Departmental Programmes

 535. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney in view of the fact that satellite images of land holdings are used every year in checking the eligibility of ground for area aid and so on, if he will provide the following details, the persons who provide these images to his Department; if it is a contract, the amount it cost every 12 months to engage the operator; the person who decides which images are used and the part of the country selected; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56498/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney My Department, in the context of delivering the Single Payment Schemes, Disadvantaged Areas’ Scheme and other area related schemes, is required to carry out a programme of annual inspections. This inspection regime covers the eligibility of land declared to draw down payments.

Land eligibility checks must be carried out on at least 5% of applicants. These checks are carried out to verify that the actual area claimed in the application form corresponds to the area farmed by the farmer and to ensure that any ineligible land or features are not included for aid purposes.

With ever improving technology and in the interests of efficient use of limited recourses, and in accordance with the governing EU legislation, the emphasis under the eligibility inspection programme has been to move progressively in the direction of increased use of ‘Remote Sensing’, based on satellite imagery. In the current year, of the overall 7,500 eligibility inspections scheduled, some 75% are being done by means of Remote Sensing (however, remote sensing inspections may give rise to follow-up ground inspections, where it has not been possible to determine definitively the eligibility of certain land features (e.g. scrub) and also where penalties arise).

The satellite imagery used for Remote Sensing inspections is supplied to my Department by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre. It is subsequently examined, in accordance with the governing rules, by a specialist service provider contracted for this purpose by my Department, having been selected under a public procurement procedure. The cost of this project in 2012 was €633,450.00

My Department, in accordance with EU rules, determines the SPS applications selected each year for eligibility inspections including the areas of the Country where satellite imagery will be used.

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Appeals

 536. Deputy Jim Daly Information on Jim Daly Zoom on Jim Daly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the position regarding an appeal for disadvantaged area payment in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56503/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The appeal of the person named was recently forwarded to the DAS Appeals Committee for consideration; immediately that Committee has adjudicated on this appeal, the person concerned will be notified of their decision, in writing.

  Question No. 537 withdrawn.

European Council Meetings

 538. Deputy Simon Harris Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney 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  [56540/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney As Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, I attend the EU Council of Ministers (Agriculture and Fisheries). Since 9 March 2011 to date, there have been 21 formal meetings of the EU Council of Agriculture Ministers and 4 informal meetings. I represented Ireland at the majority of these meetings. The next Council is scheduled for 18-20 December in Brussels and I will attend. The accompanying table sets out the position in relation to the head of delegation.

Month 2011 2012
January   Minister Coveney
February   No Council
March Minister Coveney Minister Coveney
April Minister Coveney Minister Coveney
May Minister Coveney Minister Coveney
June Minister Coveney Minister Coveney
Second Council in June 2011 Minister Coveney Minister Coveney
July Minister Coveney Minister Coveney
September Tom Moran, Secretary General Minister Coveney
October Minister Coveney Minister Coveney
November Tom Moran, Secretary General Minister Coveney
December Minister Coveney Minister Coveney
Informal May/June Minister Coveney Minister Coveney
Informal September Minister Coveney Minister Coveney

Forestry Grants

 539. 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 forestry grant payment will issue in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56574/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The applicant was informed that an over-claim relating to boundary issues was resolved. However, as a consequence of determining the correct boundaries, the latest aerial photography (from 2011) has been examined and it shows very serious deficiencies in growth in the northern portion of the plantation. As a minimum, the Forest Service will require considerable remedial works to be carried out before any further payments can be made on this contract.

A detailed on-the-ground inspection will be needed to determine the extent of works required or the extent of any write-off of areas of the plantation. This inspection will be carried out by the Forest Service as early as possible in 2013. In the meantime, if the applicant wishes to submit a plan for remedying the serious problems on the plantation, he should submit a remedial schedule and management plan to the Forest Service as soon as possible.

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Payments

 540. Deputy Michael P. Kitt Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney when payment under the disadvantaged areas scheme will be made in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Galway; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56578/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The appeal of the person named was recently forwarded to the DAS Appeals Committee for consideration; immediately that committee has adjudicated on this appeal, the person concerned will be notified of their decision, in writing.

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Payments

 541. 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 the reason a person (details supplied) in County Galway was refused headage payment. [56582/12]

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.

Single Payment Scheme Appeals

 542. Deputy Jim Daly Information on Jim Daly Zoom on Jim Daly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the position regarding a single farm payment appeal in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56589/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The person named submitted an application for an allocation of entitlements from the 2012 National Reserve. The 2012 National Reserve caters for farmers who commenced farming after 17th May, 2010. Applicants are required to submit a 2012 Single Payment application form detailing all lands which they are currently farming. In addition, applicants are required to meet certain criteria with regard to income limits and educational qualifications. Off-farm income cannot exceed €30,000 and total income, including farm income, cannot exceed €40,000. Applicants must also have obtained a FETAC Level 6 Advanced Certificate in Agriculture or its equivalent. The green certificate in farming is regarded as equivalent for this purpose. The person named was deemed ineligible as she does not hold the necessary farming qualification.

The person named submitted an appeal on the 19 November 2012 which has been forwarded to the Independent Agricultural Appeals Office who will carry out a review of my Department’s decision and will correspond directly with the person named.

Rural Environment Protection Scheme Payments

 543. Deputy Frank Feighan Information on Frank Feighan Zoom on Frank Feighan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if the contract with REP scheme 4 farmers was amended by reduction in payments from €200 per hectare to €170; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56598/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney My Department was faced with a serious challenge in terms of declining budgetary resources in 2012 and while €1,312m had been provided in the Department’s Vote for 2012, this represented a 19% decrease compared to 2011. Under the circumstances, I had very difficult decisions to make and as part of the 2012 Estimate for the Department I announced a reduction in expenditure on REPS of roughly 10%. I decided that the most equitable and fair way to achieve this saving in a manner consistent with the regulations governing the scheme was by reducing the transaction costs of participating farmers from €28.03 to €5.60 on each hectare on which the transaction cost is paid. This approach did not involve amended contracts with participating REPS 4 farmers.

The alternative to this approach involved a 10% cut in payment rates to all participating farmers which would require amended sustainable management plans to be drawn up at significant cost to participating farmers. It would also have involved a lengthy process of correspondence with all scheme participants, a detailed administrative re-check of the revised plans,, resolution of queries and issues arising and inevitably, a considerable disruption and delay in payments.

Departmental Expenditure

 544. 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 total programme savings excluding administration of his Department and the agencies funded out of the Vote made in Budgets 2012 and 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [56611/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The budget for my Department in 2013 was largely determined by the gross expenditure ceilings that were allocated to all Departments under the Government’s Medium Term Expenditure Framework, 2012 – 2014.

  The total budget for 2012 and 2013 are €1,339m and €1,250m respectively and the allocations can be broken down as follows:

  2012 2013 Change
- Administration €235m €227m -€8m
- State Bodies €194m €191m -€3m
- State Bodies €910m €832 -€78m.


  My objective is to ensure that savings on the Vote are minimised in both 2012 and 2013.

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Payments

 545. Deputy Michael Creed Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the reason persons (details provided) in County Cork have not yet received their disadvantaged area payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [56622/12]

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.

Single Payment Scheme Applications

 546. 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 when the outcome of an appeal will issue in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56645/12]

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 Scheme was received from the person named on the 15th   May 2012. During validation of the application over-claims were identified on a number of parcels declared.

  The applicant accepted the amended reference areas on two of the parcels, but disagreed with the reference areas of two others. The reference areas of these latter parcels had been established on foot of an inspection in the 2011 scheme year.

  However, my Department would be willing to review the case again, if the applicant can supply appropriate additional information, materially impacting on the results of the 2011 inspection.

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Payments

 547. 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 disadvantaged area payment for 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56725/12]

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.

Rural Environment Protection Scheme Payments

 548. 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 a REP scheme payment for 2011 will issue in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56727/12]

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 June 2008 and 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 and payments have commenced. I expect payment to issue shortly to the person named.

Organic Farming

 549. 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 an organic farm scheme payment will issue in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56729/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The person named applied to join the Organic Farming Scheme in 2012. On entering the Organic Farming Scheme, a participant undertakes to farm in accordance with the rules governing the Scheme for a minimum period of five years. In order to be eligible for payment, a participant must hold a valid organic licence for the duration of their participation in the Organic Farming Scheme. In accordance with the governing EU Regulation, my Department delegates the issue of organic licences to approved Organic Control Bodies. Prior to the issue of their 2012 Organic Farming Scheme payment, the Organic Control Body in question notified my Department that the person named will not be renewing their organic licence in 2013. In accordance with the Scheme conditions therefore, the person named is not entitled to any payment under the Organic Farming Scheme.

Herd Numbers

 550. 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 way his Department allowed a dual name owned flock number to be changed to a herd number (details supplied) in County Donegal without the consent of one of the registered names of the flock number. [56752/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney A herd number is an administrative arrangement issued by the District Veterinary Office (DVO) to a distinct herd, solely for the purposes of disease control and it does not infer ownership of lands or any animals tested under that herdnumber.

The above name was jointly registered with that of another individual to the equine number referred to in the Question. Equine numbers were withdrawn by my Department in 1995 and, in general, were replaced with dormant herd numbers in order to facilitate the payment of non-cattle headage and premia. However, in this particular instance, the equine herdnumber was not replaced by a dormant herd number. Instead, a new bovine herd number was issued on foot of a new application made in the name of one of the persons jointly registered under the equine number.

An application for a herd number in one name would not be rejected solely on the grounds that another person was registered as co-owner of the nominated land folio because, as stated already, a herd number is solely an administrative arrangement to facilitate disease control and does not infer ownership of lands or any animals tested under that herd number.


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