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. 421-437
 Header Item Agriculture Schemes Payments
 Header Item Single Payment Scheme Applications
 Header Item Dairy Equipment Scheme Applications
 Header Item Agri-Environment Options Scheme Payments
 Header Item Scéim Liúntais Cúitimh do Limistéir faoi Mhíbhuntáiste
 Header Item Farm Retirement Scheme Applications
 Header Item Dairy Equipment Scheme Applications
 Header Item TB Eradication Scheme
 Header Item Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Appeals
 Header Item Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Applications
 Header Item Agriculture Schemes Payments
 Header Item Family Support Services
 Header Item Adoption Legislation
 Header Item Public Services Provision
 Header Item Inter-Country Adoptions
 Header Item Adoption Records Provision

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 786 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 109 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 421-437

Agriculture Schemes Payments

 421. Deputy Dan Neville Information on Dan Neville Zoom on Dan Neville asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if he will review an application for single farm payment and disadvantaged area payment in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Limerick; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55564/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The person named is an applicant under the 2012 Single Payment and Disadvantaged Areas Schemes. In order to comply with EU requirements, the application was one of a number which was selected for inspection. Following the completion of the inspection and related processes, an over-claim of in excess of 50% was confirmed. A letter issued on 22nd November to the person concerned outlining how the over-claim arose and explaining the appeals procedure in place. While no appeal has been received to date, this option remains open to the applicant.

Single Payment Scheme Applications

 422. 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 single farm payment in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55568/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney An application for the 2012 Single Payment Scheme has been received from the person named. However, since the applicant does not hold any Single Payment entitlements, no payment is due. My Department has been in direct contact with the person named and has fully explained the operation of the Scheme, specifically with regard to payment entitlements.

  The person named commenced REPS 4 in February 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 and 75% Year 5 payment for the person named has issued for the amount of €3939.30 on 10th December 2012. The remaining 25% balancing payment will issue shortly.

Dairy Equipment Scheme Applications

 423. 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 application for dairy equipment grant in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55575/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The person concerned is an applicant for grant-aid under the Dairy Equipment Scheme and has been successful in the selection process for the most recent tranche under the Scheme which has just been completed. The application is now being processed further with a view to issuing an approval as quickly as possible. The Deputy will be aware that it is a standard condition of all my Department's on-farm investment schemes that no work can commence until written approval has issued from my Department.

Agri-Environment Options Scheme Payments

 424. Deputy Pat Breen Information on Pat Breen Zoom on Pat Breen asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney when payment of the agri-environment options scheme will issue in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [55576/12]

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. 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. During these checks issues were identified in relation to the claimed areas on the Species Rich Grassland and Traditional Hay Meadow actions. To date 75% payment totalling €780.29 has issued in respect of 2011 and my Department is currently examining the outstanding issues associated with the overclaims identified. Once these issues are satisfactorily resolved the balancing 25% payment in respect of 2011 will issue at the earliest opportunity.

Scéim Liúntais Cúitimh do Limistéir faoi Mhíbhuntáiste

 425. 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 Chun a fhiafraí den Aire Talmhaíochta, Bia agus Mara cén fáth nár íocadh airgead faoi scéim na limistéar faoi mhíbhuntáiste, disadvantage area scheme, do 2012 le feirmeoir (sonraí tugtha); agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [55577/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Fuarthas iarratas faoi Scéim na Limistéar faoi Mhíbhuntáiste 2012 ón duine ainmnithe an 4 Bealtaine 2012. Níl aon íocaíocht eisithe fós, áfach, mar nach gcomhlíonann gabháltas an té ainmnithe íos-cheanglais dlús-stoic na Scéime. A luaithe is a dheimhneofar go bhfuil an gabháltas ag comhlíonadh na gceanglas seo cuirfear an cás chun cinn le súil is íocaíocht a dhéanamh chomh luath agus is féidir ina dhiaidh sin.

Farm Retirement Scheme Applications

 426. 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 his plans for a new retirement scheme for persons; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55589/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney  Following the suspension of the Early Retirement Scheme on 14 October, 2008, due to budgetary constraints, it became apparent that there was a number of farmers who had their preparations to apply for the Scheme completed or close to completion at that point. The Scheme was re-opened temporarily on 23 September 2009 with limited additional funding with a view to accepting as many as possible of the applications that fell into this category. I have no plans to re-open this Scheme or introduce another Scheme at this time.

Dairy Equipment Scheme Applications

 427. 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 dairy equipment grant application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55597/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The person concerned is an applicant for grant-aid under the Dairy Equipment Scheme and has been successful in the selection process for the most recent tranche under the Scheme which has just been completed. The application is now being processed further with a view to issuing an approval as quickly as possible. The Deputy will be aware that it is a standard condition of all my Department's on-farm investment schemes that no work can commence until written approval has issued from my Department.

TB Eradication Scheme

 428. 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 with regard to TB testing, if the new reactor system is benefitting the control of TB or is there evidence that locking up all neighbours' animals is necessary or is it counterproductive; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55613/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney In 2012 my Department introduced a number of changes to the TB eradication scheme, the most important of which relate to contiguous testing. The new arrangements for contiguous testing provide that herds which are contiguous to a high risk TB breakdown and which have not had a full herd test within the previous 4 months will be trade restricted pending a full herd test. Such herds will be immediately de-restricted once they pass a TB herd test.

The rationale behind the change is to restrict TB to the area/herd where it is first disclosed and to protect herdowners with clear herds from buying in infected animals. Prior to this change, herdowners were permitted to move animals from their holdings pending the TB test and many farmers took advantage of this to sell on TB infected cattle, bringing down otherwise clear herds. Department statistics show that, in 2011, the risk of moving infected TB animals out of herds which are contiguous to a high risk breakdown is three times greater than in the case of cattle moving from a normal herd.

The change to the contiguous testing programme has been effective in that there has been a significant increase in the incidence of TB in contiguous herds in 2012 compared with 2011, indicating that the new controls are successful in detecting more TB in contiguous herds, thereby preventing infected animals from being moved from these herds to clear herds.

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Appeals

 429. 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 on disadvantaged area scheme refusal will issue in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if the appeal will prove successful. [55616/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The derogation application of the person named has been successful. The 2012 Disadvantaged Areas Scheme application was further processed and recently finalised, with payment shortly due to issue to the nominated bank account.

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Applications

 430. 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; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55618/12]

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 7th May 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, which under the terms and conditions of the scheme, resulted in a reduced payment. The applicant was notified of this outcome on 3rd October 2012 and of the right to seek a review. To date, no such request has been received. However this option remains open should the person concerned wish to exercise it.

  However, the inspection findings did not result in any reduction under the Disadvantaged Areas Scheme. Processing of this application has recently been finalised and payment will shortly issue to the nominated bank account.

Agriculture Schemes Payments

 431. 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 the position regarding farm payment in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; when this payment will issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55632/12]

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 26th April 2012. The application is now fully processed and payment under the Single Payment scheme issued on 11th December directly to the nominated bank account of the person named.

  As processing of the 2012 Disadvantaged Areas Scheme application has recently been finalised, payment will shortly issue to the nominated bank account.

Family Support Services

 432. Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald her views on a submission (details supplied) regarding family resource centres. [55080/12]

 434. Deputy Tom Fleming Information on Tom Fleming Zoom on Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald regarding the proposed new Child and Family Support Agency replacing the Family Support Agency, if she will ensure that the level of services and focus of the work of family resource centres will not be compromised in any way; if she will ensure that family resource centre national forum has representation at board level within the new agency to ensure that the role of family support remains paramount in supporting both children and their parents; if she will ensure that the ethos and culture of the family support centre programme will be maintained in order that that the strong standing that family resource centre attained in the communities family is not adversely altered; if she willensure that there is ring fencing of the budget for the family resource centre programme within the new agency; if she will ensure that the position held by family resource centres in the delivery of community based universal services and family intervention services and or programmes are maintained; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [55407/12]

 440. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald her views on the need to maintain the position held by the family resource centre in the delivery of community based universal services and early intervention services and programmes; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [55665/12]

 441. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald further to the ring fencing of the budget of the family resource centre programme, her views on the cuts that have been imposed on resource centre programmes; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [55666/12]

 442. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald his views on whether the ethos and the culture of the family resource centre programmes should be maintained (details supplied) [55667/12]

 443. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald her views on whether the Family Resource Centre national forum should have representation within the new agency, in view of the fact that the National Forum has had effective and productive representation in the Family Support Agency and as such has insured a seamless working relationship between the State agency and the voluntary sector service provider; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [55668/12]

 444. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald with regard to supporting the Family Resource Centre Programme, regardless of the make-up of the new Child and Family Support Agency, the level of service and if she will ensure that the focus of the work of the family resource centres should not be compromised in any way; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [55669/12]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald I propose to take Questions Nos. 432, 434 and 440 to 444, inclusive, together.

The Government has given approval to the drafting of a Bill to establish the Child and Family Support Agency. Work on the preparation of the legislation is proceeding as a priority and the intention is that the Agency will be established in early 2013. In order to inform the content of the legislation the Government has decided that upon establishment the Child and Family Support Agency will have responsibility for a range of services. This includes the full range of child welfare and protection services currently operated by the HSE including family support and alternative care services. It has also been decided that due to its particular relevance domestic, sexual and gender-based violence services will also be included within the Agency's responsibilities. The Government has further decided that the new Agency will assume responsibility for the functions of both the Family Support Agency and the National Educational Welfare Board. These two organisations currently operate under the aegis of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.

The Family Support Agency, under my Department, operates the Family Resource Centre Programme. The aim of the Family Resource Centre Programme is to combat disadvantage and improve the functioning of the family unit. The programme funds 106 family resource centres throughout the country. It emphasises involving local communities in tackling the problems they face, and creating successful partnerships between voluntary and statutory agencies at community level. Funding of over €15m was provided to the Family Support Agency in respect of this programme in 2012.

It is my intention that the work of the new agency will include a particular focus on the provision of services that could help prevent problems arising for a family, that would identify problems and provide supports at an early stage and that would assist children and families in managing serious problems requiring specialised interventions beyond their own resources. Therefore, in addition to child welfare and protection services there will be an emphasis on prevention, early intervention, family support and therapeutic care interventions.

I can assure the Deputies that the focus of the new Agency will build on the excellent work undertaken by the Family Support Agency over the last decade. The additional issues raised by the Deputies are being given consideration as part of the preparation of the legislation necessary to give effect to the establishment of the new agency.

Adoption Legislation

 433. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the position regarding prospective adoptive parents who have obtained a guardianship order in the country of origin and are now seeking to have the guardianship order upgraded to an adoption order under section 68 of the Adoption Act 2010; and if he will confirm that the costs in such a case would be paid by the Health Service Executive in view of the lack of clarity in section 68 regarding the person that should pay the costs of any such high court application. [55159/12]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald I am advised by the Adoption Authority of Ireland that under Section 68 of the Adoption Act, 2010, there is a requirement for the Adoption Authority (AAI) to issue an Article 17 Placement Approval Notice prior to the foreign Guardianship Order being granted. If an Article 17 Notice has not been issued by the AAI, then Section 68 of the Act does not apply. Prospective adoptive parents resident in Ireland and having custody of a child for the purposes of adoption should contact their local HSE Regional Adoption Service and seek independent legal advice on their options. All prospective adoptive parents must hold a valid Section 40 Declaration of Eligibility and Suitability to Adopt before they can adopt in Ireland.

  Question No. 434 answered with Question No. 432.

Public Services Provision

 435. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald further to Parliamentary Question No. 237 of 4 December 2012, if she will provide a list of all new services across her Department that have been tested for external service delivery since March 2011. [55426/12]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald My Department was established on the 2nd of June, 2011. Since then, no new services have been tested for external service delivery.

Inter-Country Adoptions

 436. Deputy Jerry Buttimer Information on Jerry Buttimer Zoom on Jerry Buttimer asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the average length of time for approval of persons seeking an intercountry adoption; the measures which have been taken to reduce this period and any other planned reforms to facilitate a faster processing of applications; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [55453/12]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald The HSE has advised that waiting times for intercountry adoption assessments for declarations of suitability and eligibility to adopt have reduced considerably across the country. According to the HSE the waiting time for assessments varies around the country and, in general, the maximum waiting time is 12 months. The Adoption Authority informs me that the waiting times between the sending of an adoption application pack and the actual completion of an adoption in sending countries may vary greatly and may extend to as much as 3 years or more in some cases. The Adoption Authority has no influence with regard to the waiting times involved in these sending countries.

A large number of declarations are currently valid and several hundred are issued by the Authority each year. The Adoption Authority has been proactive in developing relationships with its Hague counterparts in a number of jurisdictions. The building of such relationships will help to bring greater clarity to the intercountry adoption process generally, including the timescales involved for adopting from different countries. However, the reality is that the landscape of intercountry adoption is changing and for a variety of reasons the number of referrals of adoptable children has declined and as a result there are fewer adoptions finalised each year than declarations issued.

Adoption Records Provision

 437. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald if her attention has been drawn to the fees being charged by a company (details supplied); if these fees have been approved by the relevant authority; the efforts she is making to contain and reduce costs for those seeking inter-country adoptions; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [55456/12]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald Issues relating to the level of fees charged by an accredited body (ARC) are a matter for the Adoption Authority of Ireland (AAI) and are covered in some detail by the Adoption Act, 2010 (Accredited Bodies) Regulation 2010. The fee structure employed by ARC has been examined and approved by the AAI.

  I am aware that a number of prospective adoptive parents have recently been asked to pay substantial fees to the body concerned within a short time frame. I recently met with a representative group of parents hoping to adopt from Bulgaria. At this meeting the AAI advised that, with the assistance of their auditors, the Authority is examining a number of issues in relation to accredited bodies, including an examination of levels of fees being charged by Irish agencies in relation to international norms. The auditors will also report to the AAI in relation to proposed payment schedules by accredited bodies. I have asked the AAI for a full report on this matter. Following this examination, the AAI will discuss the findings with ARC.

  The AAI have also agreed to make contact with the Bulgarian authorities to establish the position regarding intercountry adoptions. I have agreed to meet with the prospective parents group again when the AAI have had an opportunity to complete their examination of the issues.

End of Take


Last Updated: 06/05/2020 11:55:51 First Page Previous Page Page of 109 Next Page Last Page