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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 238-254
 Header Item Horse and Greyhound Fund
 Header Item Horse and Greyhound Industry
 Header Item Horse and Greyhound Fund
 Header Item Agri-Environment Options Scheme Payments
 Header Item Flood Risk Assessments
 Header Item Food Industry Development
 Header Item Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Payments
 Header Item Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Appeals
 Header Item Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Appeals
 Header Item Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Appeals
 Header Item Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Appeals
 Header Item Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Appeals
 Header Item Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Appeals
 Header Item Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Appeals
 Header Item Tax Code
 Header Item Credit Availability
 Header Item Agri-Environment Options Scheme Reopening

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 787 No. 5

First Page Previous Page Page of 76 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 238-254

Horse and Greyhound Fund

 238. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the amount of grant aid, loan guarantees and tax exemptions provided to the horse and greyhound industry in 2011 and 2012. [57423/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney State support for the horse and greyhound racing industries is provided through the Horse and Greyhound Racing Fund (the Fund), which was established under the Horse and Greyhound Racing Act 2001, to Horse Racing Ireland and Bord na gCon to assist them in carrying out their functions.

  The level of support for these industries has been reduced by 28% since 2008 due to budgetary constraints.

  The level of funding provided to the horse and greyhound racing industries in 2011 and 2012 was as follows:

- 2011 2012
Horse Racing Ireland 45.8m 45m
Bord na gCon 11.5m 11.3m


My Department does not provide loan guarantees to either Horse Racing Ireland or Bord na gCon. Issues in relation to tax exemptions are a matter for my colleague the Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, TD, who has responsibility for all matters relating to taxation. However, the tax exemption in relation to profits derived from stallion coverings was discontinued from 1 August 2008.

Horse and Greyhound Industry

 239. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the number of jobs based on the horse and greyhound industry and the statistical basis for assessing the number employed in the sector; and if he will provide a breakdown of this figure. [57424/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The total employment in the Irish thoroughbred horse industry, both direct and indirect, was estimated to be 17,351 in 2010. This figure is contained in a report, commissioned by Irish Thoroughbred Breeders' Association, entitled “Analysis of the economic impact of the Irish Thoroughbred Horse Industry - Report Update”, Alan Dukes (2010). This Report can be obtained from the Irish Thoroughbred Breeders' Association.

The total employment in the greyhound industry, both direct and indirect, was estimated at 10,369 in 2011. This figure is contained in a report commissioned by Bord na gCon, “The Economic & Financial Significance of the Irish Greyhound Industry”, Jim Power (2011). This report can be obtained from Bord na gCon.

Horse and Greyhound Fund

 240. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the primary purpose of the horse and greyhound fund; and if it should be used to provide funding for the prize money for races. [57425/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The Horse and Greyhound Racing Fund (the Fund) was established under section 12(1) of the Horse and Greyhound Racing Act 2001 (the Act) for the purpose of giving support to the horse and greyhound racing industries. The commitment of public monies through the Fund to investment in the sectors has enabled Ireland to develop into a world centre of excellence for horseracing, greyhound racing and breeding.

  Section 12(8) of the Act states that Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) and Bord na gCon shall apply moneys paid to them from the Fund only in the performance of their functions.

  One of the general functions of HRI under section 8(1) of the Act is the stake holding of prize money for horse races.

  Section 16 (1)(c)(i) of the Greyhound Industry Act, 1958 states that the Board of Bord na gCon may apply its funds to the increase of stake money and prizes.

Prize money produces a significant multiplier effect. The HRI “Fact Book 2011” shows that HRI contributed €34m to prize money in 2008. A report entitled “Analysis of the economic impact of the Irish Thoroughbred Horse Industry”, Alan Dukes (2009), showed that in the same year (2008) owners spent €290m on horses in training and racing fees which in turn provided support for rural employment across the country.

  In Ireland, in the horse racing industry, 24% of winning prize money is distributed to trainers, riders and stable staff.

Agri-Environment Options Scheme Payments

 241. 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 decision is due on an agri environment options scheme payment for 2012 in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57426/12]

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 1st September 2011 and full payment totalling €338.07 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.

Payments in respect of the 2012 Scheme year are subject to a similar administrative checking process which includes verification of capital investment through checks on receipts. These checks are under way and once successfully completed I expect 2012 payment to issue to the person named.

Flood Risk Assessments

 242. 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 he will request Teagasc to investigate new drainage issues that have arisen in the east Galway area in the Suck catchment basin, as fields that were never flooded before have been flooded on a consistent basis this year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57435/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The assessment and management of flood risks is in the first instance the responsibility of the Office of Public Works.

As the deputy is acutely aware 2012 has been a very difficult year for farmers having to cope with the bad weather. Parts of the country received over 200% of the average summer rainfall. In Galway the summer and autumn months experienced above average rainfall, even though the yearly average was in keeping with the national picture.

Farmers affected by the flooding in the Suck catchment in East Galway should contact the Office of Public Works locally for advice on the best course of action available. Where the issue relates to individual parcels of land, the farmer should contact their local Teagasc advisor or private Agricultural Consultant.

Food Industry Development

 243. Deputy Jerry Buttimer Information on Jerry Buttimer Zoom on Jerry Buttimer asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the strategy employed to increase the availability of Irish food and products in supermarkets; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57450/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Under the terms of our EU membership, goods and services move freely within the Single Market which benefits a food exporting country such as Ireland which recorded a 25% increase in food and drink exports in the past two years to reach €8.8 billion in 2011.

Member States may not use public funds to promote sales of products based on origin. Quality assurance schemes may, however, show origin in a secondary capacity. That is the case for the Bord Bia beef, lamb, pigmeat, poultry and horticulture quality assurance schemes, which enjoy a high degree of consumer awareness and recognition and are very visible on supermarket shelves.

I am pleased to see supermarkets increasingly publicise the value of the Irish food and drink products that they purchase and details of new contracts concluded with small suppliers. Such publicity is particularly useful for own brand products where information on origin may be quite limited. EU requirements on origin labelling are limited. They do cover raw beef and veal; raw poultry meat from a third country; fruit and vegetables, and honey but origin is not required for other foods unless its absence would mislead the consumer.

Bord Bia works with producers directly and through major marketing events such as Marketplace Ireland 2012 to advise food and drink businesses on routes to market including supermarkets and on how to identify and build on business opportunities in a very competitive trading environment.

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Payments

 244. 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 if he will urgently issue payment under the 2012 disadvantaged areas scheme to a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57457/12]

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 19 December 2012, directly to the nominated bank account.

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Appeals

 245. 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 to the disadvantaged area appeal committee in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57481/12]

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.

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Appeals

 246. 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 to the disadvantaged area appeals committee in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57482/12]

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 Appeals

 247. 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 to disadvantaged area appeals committee in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57483/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The person concerned is an applicant under the 2012 Disadvantaged Areas Scheme. This applicant is one of a number, whose cases are impacted by a requirement of a minimum stocking density of 0.3 livestock units per forage hectare and who applied for and were refused derogation in this regard.

The person subsequently availed of the option to appeal to the independently chaired DAS Appeals Committee. The Committee has adjudicated on this appeal and the person concerned has been notified of the unsuccessful outcome, in writing, on 13 December 2012.

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Appeals

 248. 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 to the disadvantaged area appeals committee in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57484/12]

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 Appeals

 249. 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 to the disadvantaged area appeals committee in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57485/12]

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 Appeals

 250. 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 to the disadvantaged area appeals committee in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57486/12]

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 Appeals

 251. 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 a an appeal to the disadvantaged area appeals committee in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57487/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The person concerned is an applicant under the 2012 Disadvantaged Areas Scheme. This applicant is one of a number, whose cases are impacted by a requirement of a minimum stocking density of 0.3 livestock units per forage hectare and who applied for and were refused derogation in this regard.

The person subsequently availed of the option to appeal to the independently chaired DAS Appeals Committee. The Committee have adjudicated on this appeal and the person concerned has been notified of the unsuccessful outcome, in writing, on 13 December 2012.

Tax Code

 252. 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 his views on stamp duty (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57488/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney I am pleased to inform the deputy that there was no decision to abolish the relief on stamp duty on land transfers for young farmers. This important relief was due to end this year but is once again being extended. The relief plays a vital role in encouraging the timely inter-generational transfer of family farms. Irish and EU agricultural and rural development policies are consistent in providing support and encouragement for the transfer of farms to young farmers.

Credit Availability

 253. 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 his attention has been drawn to the lack of credit availability for farmers; if he anticipates the cash flow problem to worsen for persons due to increased winter feeding costs; if he has liaised with the Department for Finance and credit institutions in an effort to improve this situation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57490/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney I am aware that, like many other sectors, farmers can find it difficult to get credit due to the strict assessments introduced as a result of the global financial crisis. I am of course also conscious of the reduction in farmers' incomes this year and the increase in input costs as a result of the adverse weather, with feed costs likely to remain high. There has, however, been an upward revision in crop forecasts in the last week and I welcome the fact that exports from the agri-food sector have maintained the growth achieved during 2010 and 2011.

  My officials are in regular contact with farm bodies, various national banks and the Banking Federation concerning the availability of credit to farmers. My officials have assisted one of the farm organizations in explaining the work of the Credit Review Office, so that they can help their members in this regard. Despite the concerns expressed about lack of credit, a relatively small number of cases from the Agri-Food sector have come before the Credit Review Office. I would encourage farmers to make use of this system should they have difficulty in accessing credit.

  I am aware that a number of banks have designed new credit facilities specifically tailored for the agri-food sector in recent months. In addition, the most recent Central Bank data for lending to SMEs, covering Q3 2012, shows that the agriculture sector was top of the list in value terms for new lending to SMEs during the quarter. With a total of €138m, it was far ahead of the second placed retail sector on €84m and represented 31% Excluding Financial Intermediation and Property Services of all such new lending during the period. This level of new lending (31% of all new lending) also applies over the year to date, during which €401m was provided to the sector. I am also pleased to note a 16.7% increase in the number of new tractors registered year-on-year and a 46% increase over the last two years.

  http://www.cso.ie/en/releasesandpublications/er/vlftm/vehicleslicensedforthefirsttimenovember2012/

  I will continue to meet with relevant parties on a regular basis to discuss all credit-related issues.

Agri-Environment Options Scheme Reopening

 254. 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 future opening windows for agri schemes will be open longer to enable planners to deal with the large volumes of work that they must undertake; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57491/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney I announced the re-opening of the Agri-environmental Options Scheme to new applicants on 25 September with a closing date for the receipt of applications of 30 November. I extended the original closing date of to 7 December to allow the preparation and completion of applications by applicants and planners. In setting closing dates for any schemes that may be introduced in the future, I will consider all relevant issues in setting an appropriate date.


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