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 Header Item Written Answers Nos 161-180
 Header Item Rural Broadband Scheme
 Header Item Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Eligibility
 Header Item Agri-Environment Options Scheme Payments
 Header Item Agriculture Schemes Payments
 Header Item Forestry Grants
 Header Item Agriculture Schemes Payments
 Header Item Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Payments
 Header Item Milk Quota Trading Scheme
 Header Item Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme Applications
 Header Item Íocaíochtaí Deontas
 Header Item Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Payments
 Header Item Single Payment Scheme Payments
 Header Item Rural Broadband Scheme
 Header Item Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Payments
 Header Item Agriculture Schemes Payments
 Header Item Agriculture Schemes Eligibility
 Header Item Severe Weather Events
 Header Item Departmental Staff Rehiring
 Header Item Family Support Services
 Header Item Child Protection

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 791 No. 3

First Page Previous Page Page of 50 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos 161-180

Rural Broadband Scheme

 161. 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 provide the details of all drawdown requests made by his Department to the EU, under the rural development programme 2007-2013 in respect of rural broadband schemes during the years 2011 and 2012; the expected draw down in 2013 and 2014; the amount allocated by his Department in conjunction with the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, including matching funds from either Department for these four years; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [6505/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The Rural Broadband Scheme (RBS) was launched in 2011 in recognition of the fact that despite the widespread availability of broadband throughout Ireland, there still remained individual premises that were unable to receive a service. This Scheme was aimed at making a basic broadband service available to un-served premises in rural areas, not already covered by the National Broadband Scheme. An amount of €13,413,000 EAFRD funding was allocated to the scheme and this was matched by national funding of €4,471,000 by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. As existing commercial internet service providers indicated their ability to provide services to almost all of the qualifying applicants under the Scheme there has been no need for any disbursement of public money and no related draw-down of EU funding was necessary for that scheme. The Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources has informed my Department that the EAFRD funding originally made available for this scheme may be re-allocated to other qualifying measures under the Rural Development Programme.

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Eligibility

 162. Deputy Martin Ferris Information on Martin Ferris Zoom on Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the position regarding an area based compensatory allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Galway. [6364/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Under 2012 Disadvantaged Areas Scheme, there are two criteria to be satisfied in relation to horses. First, the holding itself must meet the definition of an Equine Breeding Enterprise and second, horses, in order to be taken into account for stocking density purposes, must be aged one to five years and, where older, must be a breeding mare for the purposes of the Scheme.

While the person named submitted eleven equine passports to my Department, as none was in respect of a breeding mare, the Scheme criteria have not been met. Accordingly, no payment is due under the 2012 Scheme. The applicant was advised of the position by letter dated 28 January 2013.

Agri-Environment Options Scheme Payments

 163. Deputy Martin Ferris Information on Martin Ferris Zoom on Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney when an agri-environment option scheme payment will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Galway.  [6366/13]

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 €1,014.60 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 have been successfully completed and full payment totalling €3,536.53 issued in respect of the 2012 scheme year – 75% payment issued on 4th February and the balancing 25% payment issued on 5th February 2013.

Agriculture Schemes Payments

 164. 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 a person (details supplied) in County Mayo may expect to have their single farm, REP scheme and disadvantaged area payments processed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6368/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The 50% advance payment under the 2012 Single Payment Scheme issued on 16 October with the balancing payment issuing on 3 December 2012.

With regard to the 2012 Disadvantaged Areas Scheme application, as processing has recently been finalised, payment will shortly issue to the nominated bank account. Payment had not issued previously as the holding concerned was only recently confirmed as having satisfied the scheme minimum stocking density requirements.

The person named commenced REPS 4 in August 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 is nearing completion in respect of the person named and I expect that payments will issue shortly.

Forestry Grants

 165. 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 an application for forestry will be reviewed in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6377/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The amount of unenclosed land in any application for financial approval under the afforestation schemes cannot exceed 20% of the total area. All applications submitted to my Department for approval to undertake afforestation are examined by reference to the silvicultural and environmental suitability of the site for forestry. This includes an assessment of issues such as soil type, soil fertility, exposure etc., along with an assessment of the potential impact of the project on water quality, landscapes and nature conservation. My Department cannot use Exchequer funds to support the establishment of new forests in areas that are silviculturally unsuitable for forestry or where forestry may negatively impact on the environment. The priority must be to ensure that limited financial resources are targeted towards lands that provide the best value for money with a view to expanding the forest estate so that it can be sustainably and economically managed into the future.

My Department also has a legal responsibility to ensure that every hectare approved for afforestation complies with requirements set out under various environmental European Directives such as the Birds and Habitats Directives, the EIA Directive and the Water Framework Directive, and with corresponding national legislation.

Based on these criteria, the land of the person named would not qualify for approval.

Agriculture Schemes Payments

 166. Deputy Michael Moynihan Information on Michael Moynihan Zoom on Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if he will provide an update on the outstanding REP scheme and single farm payment in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6378/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The person named took over the herd number of her late husband from the 13th February 2012. She submitted an application for the single farm payment in the 2012 scheme year however she did not submit an application to transfer the single payment entitlements belonging to her late husband to her own name.

Having regard to the circumstances of the person named, officials from my department have contacted her and will accept a late application to transfer the single payment entitlements. An application form has been sent to her for completion. On receipt of this completed application and the required testamentary document, the entitlements will be transferred from her late husband’s name to the person named.

The person named commenced REPS3 in December 2006 and received payments for the full 5 years of their contract which ended on 30 November 2011.

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Payments

 167. Deputy John O'Mahony Information on John O'Mahony Zoom on John O'Mahony asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will receive their disadvantaged area scheme payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6379/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney As the holding of the person named did not meet the minimum stocking density requirements of the 2012 Disadvantaged Areas Scheme and as there is no current agri-environmental plan in place for the holding, no payment is due under the 2012 Scheme.

Milk Quota Trading Scheme

 168. 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 the position regarding milk quota in respect of persons (details supplied) in County Limerick; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6396/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The Milk Quota Trading Scheme is the principal mechanism for the acquisition of additional milk quota. The Scheme provides for the allocation of quota from a priority pool to selected categories, including milk production partnerships registered with Teagasc.

An official of my Department has been in contact with the named person and, having ascertained that he is not in a registered milk production partnership, is advising him of his options.

Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme Applications

 169. 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 dairy equipment scheme grant will be provided to a person (details provided) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6421/13]

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 TAMS Dairy Equipment Scheme and submitted a grant application during the course of the tranche which closed on 31 January 2013. My Department issued a letter to the applicant on 11 January 2013 in relation to certain aspects of the application and a reply to that letter is still outstanding.

In the case of investments in relation to bovine milk production, the Scheme requires that an applicant must have between 50,000 litres and 1 million litres of milk quota at the time of application in order to be eligible for grant-aid.

Íocaíochtaí Deontas

 170. 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 uair a íocfar deontas faoi scéim na limistéar faoi mhíbhuntáiste le feirmeoir (sonraí leis seo).  [6488/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Faoi Scéim Limistéar faoi Mhíbhuntáiste 2012, éilítear ar na hiarratasóirí incháilithe íosdlús stocála de 0.15 aonad beostoic a chomhlíonadh atá ríofa thar dhá mhí dhéag de bhliain na scéime.

Cé gur dearbhaíodh gur chomhlíon an gabháltas atá i gceist an riachtanas íos-stocála ar feadh sé mhí, níor chomhlíon sé an meán don tréimhse dhá mhí dhéag. Dá bhrí sin, faraor, níl an duine ainmnithe i dteideal aon íocaíocht faoi Scéim 2012.

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Payments

 171. 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 2012 disadvantaged area payment will be granted to a person (details supplied) in County Galway; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6500/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Under 2012 Disadvantaged Areas Scheme, eligible applicants are required to have met a minimum stocking density of 0.15 livestock units for a retention period of six consecutive months, in addition to maintaining an annual average of 0.15 livestock units calculated over the twelve months of the scheme year.

While the holding of the person named did not satisfy the stocking requirement, the case has been recently reviewed in light of the particular circumstances. Following this process, the application has been accepted for payment, which will issue shortly, directly to the nominated bank account.

Single Payment Scheme Payments

 172. 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 based on an average payment of €270 per hectare of single payment paid as per the Commission’s proposals on the reform of the common agricultural policy, the amount that would be paid on a flat rate basis on all land in a holding in excess of 25 hectares if a payment of €350 per hectare was paid on the first 25ha; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [6501/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The calculation requested by the Deputy is set out in the table below, based on the 2010 SPS payment database used by my Department to model CAP reform proposals.

  

Flat rate payment on land greater than 25 ha, if a payment of €350/ha paid on first 25 ha

2010 SPS Payment total €1,247,527,160
less payment for first 25 ha of each farm @€350 per ha €914,490,518
Balance of 2010 SPS payment € €333,036,643
Remaining Land (in excess of 25 ha per farm) ha 2,104,730
Flat Rate for land in excess of 25 ha (balance of payment divided by remaining land) €158

Rural Broadband Scheme

 173. 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 funds that had been allocated for the rural broadband scheme from the rural development fund have not been spent for that purpose could be re-allocated for another purpose, including further places on the agri-environment options scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [6504/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources has informed my Department that the objective of the Rural Broadband Reach Scheme has been fulfilled without the need to utilise any EAFRD monies. Consequently EAFRD funding originally made available for that scheme under the Rural Development Programme may be re-allocated for other rural development measures which address the so called new challenges as required under the Health Check allocation. My Department is currently examining options in this regard with a view to ensuring full draw down of all available EAFRD funding. Any proposals on re-allocation of EAFRD funds will require matching national funding which is subject to ongoing budgetary constraints.

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Payments

 174. 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 will be made on a disadvantaged area payment for 2012 in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6511/13]

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 whose Disadvantaged Areas Scheme applications were impacted by a requirement of a minimum stocking density of 0.3 livestock units per forage hectare in 2011 and who, following communication with my Department and the submission of additional documentation, have now been granted derogation in this regard. Accordingly, payment is due to issue shortly.

Agriculture Schemes Payments

 175. 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 the position regarding rural environment protection scheme maps fine and single farm payment in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Limerick; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6562/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The person named commenced REPS 3 in November 2006 and received payments for the full five years of their contract.

REPS 3 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. Following an on-farm investigation in 2011 the person named incurred penalties due to an area discrepancy between the Single Farm Payment Application for 2011 and the REPS 3 Agri-environmental Plan. Furthermore, additional penalties were applied for failure to abide by the regulations in relation to Measure 3 “Protection and Maintenance of Watercourse, Waterbodies and Wells”. Following an appeal by the person named, the case was reviewed by officials in my Department. However the person named was informed in writing that the appeal was unsuccessful and also notified of his right of appeal to the Agriculture Appeals Office.

In November 2012 the person named lodged an appeal with the Agriculture Appeals Office in Portlaoise. This case is still under review by that office and that office will be in direct contact with the person named regarding this appeal.

Agriculture Schemes Eligibility

 176. 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 position regarding entitlements payment in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Sligo [6563/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The National Reserve Scheme caters for new entrants to farming. In order to qualify for entitlements from the National Reserve applicants must have a herd number or have applied to their local District Veterinary office for a herd number prior to closing date of the Single payment application. In addition applicants must have submitted an application under the current Single payment scheme providing details of the number of eligible hectares farmed.

Furthermore, applicants are required to meet certain criteria, which varies through the scheme years, with regard to income limits and educational qualifications. Under the current 2012 scheme off-farm income cannot exceed €30,000 and total income, including farm income, cannot exceed €40,000. Applicants must 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 closing date for receipt of applications was 15th   May, 2012.

There has been a National Reserve Scheme since the introduction of the new CAP regime in 2005. Should there be a 2013 National Reserve scheme it will be announced in the springtime as has been the case for the previous Schemes. Should the person named wish to apply, application forms will be available following the scheme introduction.

Severe Weather Events

 177. 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 if he will support farmers affected by the shortage in fodder due to the increased fodder costs brought about by the inclement weather conditions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6564/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney I acknowledge the financial difficulties experienced by farmers due the inclement weather conditions last year. In the present economic climate however, I am not in a position to provide additional financial supports to farmers from national funds.

  To alleviate the pressures on farmers last year, I sought and received EU approval for the advance payment of the 2012 Single Payment Scheme. I also ensured that payments under other Schemes were brought forward to the earliest possible date. Over €1.6 billion was paid to farmers under the various schemes in 2012.

In addition, the closing dates for spreading of chemical and organic fertiliser were extended by 2 weeks to 30th September and 31st October 2012 respectively with the subsequent announcement by Minister Hogan on 26th October 2012 of further measures to alleviate the difficulties experienced by farmers. They included permitting the spreading of livestock manures produced on farms during the period 1st November to 16th November 2012, subject to notification, and the bringing forward by two weeks, the date for first spreading of livestock manures. These changes were aimed at maximising the opportunity for extending the grazing season on-farms and support farmers in addressing feed shortages.

Departmental Staff Rehiring

 178. Deputy Sandra McLellan Information on Sandra McLellan Zoom on Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the number of retired public sector workers on pensions within his Department or any Office/Body under his aegis that have been re-instated in other positions within the public sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6756/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Three staff currently employed in my Department on a contract basis are in receipt of pensions. In addition, one staff member recruited by the Public Appointments Service is in receipt of a public service pension. Normal pension abatement rules have been applied in these cases. I have no information available to me regarding retired staff from my Department who may be currently employed in other areas of the public service.

Family Support Services

 179. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the current position in relation to funding for the family support agency; her views that the existing network of family resource centres are adequately funded; if she has plans to fund further centres; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6507/13]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald Funding of over €23.5 million has been provided to the Family Support Agency (FSA) for 2013. This includes a dedicated provision of over €14 million in respect of the Family Resource Centre Programme in 2013. Under the programme some 106 Family Resource Centres will receive funding from the FSA this year. The FSA, like all other State bodies, has been asked to make savings across all the programmes which it administers. In this context the Family Resource Centres have been asked to focus, in particular, on identifying the scope for greater efficiency and for reduction in the administration and overhead costs associated with the day-to-day running of the centres..

The functions of the FSA will transfer to the new Child and Family Support Agency upon it's establishment. The Government has approved the Heads of a Bill to establish the new Agency and has also agreed to the priority drafting of this Bill. The necessary legislative and organisational preparations are being prioritised so that the Agency can be established as soon as possible.

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. The new Agency will build on the excellent work undertaken by the Family Support Agency over the last decade, and a community based approach will form an integral part of its work.

Child Protection

 180. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald if he will provide a breakdown on an annual basis, since the establishment of the use of the High Court's inherent jurisdiction to place children in special care with the decision of FN v The Minister for Education and Others in 1995, of the number of children who have been placed in the care of the State under a special care order with details of the various institutions both within and outside Ireland in which the children have been detained. [6508/13]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald My Department has received the information requested by the Deputy from the HSE. Due to the volume and presentation of the information I will forward the information directly to the Deputy.


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