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. 534-556
 Header Item Agri-Environment Options Scheme Payments
 Header Item Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Payments
 Header Item Rural Development Programme Funding
 Header Item Rural Development Programme Funding
 Header Item Agri-Environment Options Scheme Conditions
 Header Item Rural Development Programme Projects
 Header Item Rural Environment Protection Scheme Expenditure
 Header Item Rural Environment Protection Scheme Expenditure
 Header Item Rural Environment Protection Scheme Payments
 Header Item Rural Environment Protection Scheme Payments
 Header Item Rural Environment Protection Scheme Payments
 Header Item Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Payments
 Header Item Fodder Crisis
 Header Item Forestry Premium
 Header Item Farm Grants
 Header Item Public Sector Staff Remuneration
 Header Item Sugar Industry
 Header Item Forestry Grants
 Header Item Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Applications
 Header Item Agriculture Schemes Payments
 Header Item Departmental Expenditure
 Header Item Agri-Environment Options Scheme Eligibility

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 803 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 87 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 534-556

Agri-Environment Options Scheme Payments

 534. 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 expected total expenditure under the agri-environment schemes under the common agriculture policy programme 2007-2013; the percentage of this that will be co-funded by the Exchequer; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22538/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Expenditure on agri - environment schemes over the period 2007 to 2013 is estimated at €2.015 billion, details as follows: -

- REPs AEOS Total
- €m. €m. €m.
2007 311.750 - 311.750
2008 312.080 - 312.080
2009 341.123 - 341.123
2010 321.864 - 321.864
2011 260.952 14.107 275.059
2012 198.266 54.947 253.213
2013 estimated 148.575 51.800 200.375
Estimated Total 2007 to 2013 1,894.610 120.854 2,015.464


  When EU co funding is taken into account, the net Exchequer cost of funding eligible expenditure on REPs and AEOS agri environment measures is, subject to EU funding limitations, 45% and 25% respectively.

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Payments

 535. 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 expected total expenditure under the disadvantaged area scheme under the common agriculture policy programme 2007-2013; the percentage of this that will be co-funded by the Exchequer; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22539/13]

 542. 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 expenditure under the disadvantaged area scheme each year under the disadvantaged area scheme 2007 to 2013; the expected expenditure under this scheme this year including any payments under the 2013 scheme that will be paid in 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22546/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney I propose to take Questions Nos. 535 and 542 together.

  Total provision available under the Disadvantaged Areas Scheme as provided for in the Rural Development Programme 2007 – 2013 is €1,799M. This amount is co-financed by the EU up to 55%. The expenditure for each of the years 2007 to 2011, inclusive, is as outlined below.

Year
Applied
Paid
Total Amount
2011
101,802
101,078
€222,928,445.97
2010
101,335
100,670
€222,514,981.01
2009
101,626
101,123
€224,481,777.01
2008
102,660
101,934
€254,362,048.52
2007
102,806
102,414
€255,265,611.76
Total
€1,179,552,864.27


  Processing under the 2012 Scheme remains ongoing, with payments issuing as individual cases are confirmed eligible. To date, payments worth €207,821,336.20 have issued to 94,920 beneficiaries out of the total of 102,454 who applied. The closing date for the 2013 DAS Scheme is 15 May 2013.

Rural Development Programme Funding

 536. 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 programmes funded under the rural development programme 2007-2013; the total estimated expenditure under each element of this programme at its conclusion; the expenditure to date; the estimated amount that will be provided by Exchequer funding and the amount of Exchequer funding to date; the percentage minimum Exchequer funding required under each measure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22540/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The table sets out the measures funded under the Rural Development Programme 2007 – 2013 [RDP]. Under the current approved financial plan in the Programme close on €4.8Bn is allocated at programme level. This amount includes an allocation of EAFRD funding of €2.49Bn and €2.3Bn of Exchequer funding. Since the launch of the RDP expenditure under the programme up to the end of March 2013 amounted to €3.8Bn. This represents close on 79% of the total value of the Programme and 85% of the EAFRD amount.   Axes 1 and 2 of the Rural Development Programme are administered by my Department while Axes 3 and 4 are delivered by the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government. Details of the allocation and expenditure per measure per fund source under the RDP up to the end of March 2013 are set out in the table below. Included in the table is the indicative level in percentage terms of required exchequer funding per measure to meet the current approved financial plan. This table does not include funds already committed but not as yet claimed.

   The programme, like all national spending, is subject to ongoing budgetary constraints but is configured to maximise all available EU funding. Spending under a number of measures may continue until the end of 2015 and this will provide considerable scope to allow all measures to spend up to their full allocation. Adjustments have already been made to the RDP financial plan and further adjustments are currently being made in order to achieve the fullest possible draw down of available funds. These adjustments must take expenditure to date and commitments to the end of the programme into account and have regard to the available national funding.

Axis / Measure
Current

RDP

Allocation

EAFRD

Allocation

Total

Exchequer

Allocation

EAFRD

and

Exchequer

Expenditure

2007 – March 2013

Of which

EAFRD

Spend

Of which

Exchequer

Spend

% of Exchequer funding required

under

current allocations

AXIS 1 – Competitiveness
             
Vocational training (REPS)
5,675,440
3,458,613
2,216,827
7,227,927
4,120,729
3,107,198
39%
Installation Aid
12,261,081
7,471,903
4,789,178
12,892,430
6,504,938
6,387,492
38%
Early Retirement
219,188,239
133,592,630
85,595,609
216,450,154
115,915,664
100,534,490
39%
Farm Modernisation
154,570,446
92,992,230
61,578,216
80,054,052
47,251,733
32,802,319
39.8%
TOTAL AXIS 1
391,695,206
237,515,376
154,179,830
316,624,563
173,793,064
142,831,499
39.3%
Axis 2 – Environment and land management
             
Less Favoured Areas
1,617,984,198
634,141,309
983,842,889
1,295,213,902
712,367,647
582,846,255
60.8%
Natura 2000
528,582,998
308,720,649
219,862,349
89,717,139
50,226,637
39,490,502
41.45%
Agri-environment
1,922,493,570
1,058,314,930
864,178,640
1,929,663,382
1,076,014,860
853,648,544
44.9%
TOTAL AXIS 2
4,069,060,766
2,001,176,888
2,067,883,878
3,314,594,423
1,838,609,144
1,475,985,301
50.7%
Axis 3
             
Broadband
17,884,000
13,413,000
4,471,000
0
0
0
25%
TOTAL AXIS 3
17,884,000
13,413,000
4,471,000
0
0
0
25%
Axis 4
             
Competitiveness – Food Projects.
5,000,000
4,250,000
750,000
89,554
76,120
13,434
15%
Implementing

Local Development

Strategies – Quality of Life
265,470,511
182,632,819
82,837,692
118,145,071
78,894,141
39,250,930
31.2%
Co-operation Projects
7,878,000
5,885,653
1,992,347
2,124,193
1,505,080
619,113
24.3%
Running of LAGS
62,464,000
46,666,854
15,797,146
52,727,893
33,935,170
18,792,723
25.1%
TOTAL AXIS 4
340,812,511
239,435,326
101,377,185
173,086,711
114,410,511
58,676,200
29.7%
Axis 5 – Technical Assistance
             
Technical Assistance
6,000,000
3,000,000
3,000,000
1,441,575
720,789
720,786
50%
OVERALL RDP
4,825,452,483
2,494,540,590
2,330,911,893
3,805,747,272
2,127,533,508
1,687,213,786
48.3%

Rural Development Programme Funding

 537. 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 and the annualised amount of money provided in the multi-annual framework for the rural development programme 2014-2020 for Ireland; the details of the sub-programmes that can be co-funded based on the MFF and the Commission’s proposals; the minimum Exchequer funding percentage required for each element; the minimum percentage of the programme that must be used for specific sub programmes such as LEADER type actions, agri-environment schemes and so on; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22541/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The European Council agreement on the Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF) provides a total of €2.19bn or some €313m for Ireland per year under Pillar 2 of the CAP for the period 2014 - 2020. This includes a special allocation of €100 million, over the full period, negotiated in the final stages of the talks. Measures which may be funded must address the three rural development objectives and the six priorities laid down in the proposal.

The MFF provides for flexibility regarding the co-financing rates for Pillar 2 support measures and a number of different rates have been incorporated into the proposal. A general co-financing rate of 53% is proposed but this rate may rise to a maximum of 80% for measures such as farm and business development, co-operation activities, Leader projects, and other measures. Environmental type measures may be co-funded up to 75%. The exchequer funding percentage that will be required to draw down the available EU funding will depend firstly on the types of measures that will be included in the Programme and secondly on the co-financing rate that is agreed with the EU Commission for these measures.

As regards the minimum spend for certain measures, the proposal provides that at least 5% EAFRD funding must be reserved for Leader while the Common Provisions Regulation provides that 7% of EAFRD funding must be allocated under a national performance reserve. In addition a recital to the rural development regulation proposes that 25% of the total EAFRD amount be reserved for diverse environmental operations and climate change mitigation and adaptation measures.

Agri-Environment Options Scheme Conditions

 538. 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 his plans to introduce a one year agri-environment scheme for 2014 in the event of the common agriculture policy programme 2014-2020 not commencing in 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22542/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The European Commission EAFRD proposal for the period 2014 – 2020 is still under negotiation as are the proposed funding arrangements for the EAFRD under the Multi-annual Financial Framework. Transitional rules will be required to bridge the current and 2014-2020 programming period for rural development and this is standard practice in the case of Pillar 2 due to the multi annual nature of some of the measures.

Draft transitional rules have been proposed and will be under discussion at EU level over the coming months. One of the purposes of these rules will be to allow area based commitments undertaken under the current programme to be funded during 2014 out of the new financial envelope where the financial resources of the current programme have been exhausted. Under the current rural development Regulation agri environment commitments are undertaken as a general rule for periods of between five and seven years. There is no provision under the current Regulation for an agri environment scheme of one year’s duration which could be funded under transitional rules.

Rural Development Programme Projects

 539. 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 estimated number of farmers that will be in the REP scheme 4 and the agri environment option schemes 1, 2 and 3 at 31 December 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22543/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney There are currently about 29,300 participants in REPS 4. A total of just under 12,300 of these will cease their participation in REPS 4 at 31 December 2013.

At 31 December 2013, there will approximately be 7,600 participants in the 2010 Agri Environment Options Scheme (AEOS 1) and 6,150 applicants in the 2011 Agri-Environment Options Scheme (AEOS 11). In accordance with the terms and Conditions, participants in the schemes with ongoing contracts after 31 December 2013 will be offered the opportunity to adjust their commitments for the remainder of the contract period to the new legal framework that may be established for the 2014 to 2020 period. If such transition is not acceptable to the participant he/she may withdraw from the scheme without any requirement to repay aid already received.

I also expect that approximately 6,000 applications will shortly be approved for participation in the 2012 Agri-environment Options Scheme (AEOS 111).

Rural Environment Protection Scheme Expenditure

 540. 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 number of farmers that joined REP scheme 1, 2, 3 and 4; the total amount of money expended on each REP scheme to date; the total amount of money that will be expended under the REP scheme 4 at the close of the programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22544/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The details requested will be forwarded directly to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Rural Environment Protection Scheme Expenditure

 541. 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 opening date for the REP scheme 4 and the date on which it closed for new applicants; the amount paid out under this scheme each year since its inception to date; the expected expenditure in 2013 and 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22545/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The Rural Environment Protection Scheme (REPS 4) was introduced on 8th August 2007 and was closed to new applicants on 9 July 2009.

  Details on the amount paid out each year since the inception of the Scheme, including expected expenditure in 2013 and 2014 will be forwarded directly to the Deputy as soon as possible.

  Question No. 542 answered with Question No. 535.

Rural Environment Protection Scheme Payments

 543. 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 REP scheme 4 payments will be made to farmers who have had their payments cleared for payment by his Department; the reason for the delay in issuing payments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22547/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Under the EU Regulations governing all area-based payment schemes, a comprehensive administrative check of all applications, including cross-checks with the Land Parcel Identification System, must be completed before any REPS payment can issue.

Successive EU audits have made it absolutely clear that compliance with the Regulations must be strictly adhered to and that all administrative checks must be passed and eligibility conditions met before payment issues. As a result, my Department is obliged to ensure that individual payments will not issue until all aspects of a farmer’s application are in order, all outstanding documentation provided and all queries resolved. In most instances where payments are outstanding there remains an outstanding query on the application. These queries are being resolved on an ongoing basis and officials in my Department will have contacted the applicants concerned with the intention of issuing payment as quickly as possible. I am, of course, conscious of the difficulties facing the farming community at present and I am prioritising the processing of outstanding payments, including REPS, and to ensure that queries are resolved and payments expedited.

To date approximately 29,200 of the remaining 30,200 REPS 4 participants have been paid a total of €167m in respect of the 2012 application period. An additional €1m will issue this week to a further 200 REPS 4 farmers.

Rural Environment Protection Scheme Payments

 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 when a REP scheme 4 payment will issue to a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22548/13]

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 current 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. These checks have been completed in this case and the 2012 75% payment amounting to €3,673.81 issued for payment on 8 May 2013. The remaining 2012 25% balancing payment will issue shortly.

Rural Environment Protection Scheme Payments

 545. 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 REP scheme 4 payment will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Galway; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22549/13]

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 March 2008 and received payments for the first four years of their contract.

REPS 4 is a measure under the current 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 the administrative checks an issue was discovered in relation to Supplementary Measure 10 (Mixed Grazing) which has resulted in the need for further clarification. A letter issued to the person named dated 21 February 2013. As soon as officials in my Department receive a satisfactory response to this letter the application will be processed further with the intention of an early resolution and payment in respect of 2012.

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Payments

 546. 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 disadvantaged area payment will be made to a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22550/13]

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 of applicants under the 2012 Disadvantaged Areas Scheme, whose cases were impacted by the requirement to have achieved a minimum stocking density of 0.3 livestock units per forage hectare on their holding in 2011, and who applied for and were granted derogation in this regard.

However, as the applicant has not as yet demonstrated that the holding satisfies the scheme minimum stocking density requirements for the calendar year 2012, no payment currently is due.

Fodder Crisis

 547. Deputy Seamus Kirk Information on Seamus Kirk Zoom on Seamus Kirk asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if in view of the fodder crisis and the fact that farmers are forced to graze land normally set aside for silage harvesting, he will examine the nitrates directive, to allow farmers to use additional fertiliser to boost silage volumes for the coming winter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22726/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The rules governing the use of nitrates and phosphates are set out in the European Communities (Good Agricultural Practice for the Protection of Waters) Regulations 2010 commonly referred to as the Nitrates Regulations. Responsibility for these Regulations rests with my colleague, Minister Phil Hogan, Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government.

These regulations transpose the EU Nitrates Directive into law in Ireland with the objective of the Regulations being the protection of ground and surface waters including drinking water sources, through the application of measures to reduce the risk of nutrient enrichment from Agriculture to water.

The unusually wet weather in 2012 resulted in reduced fodder being available on many farms for last winter. The cold and wet weather in the early part of 2013 led to greatly reduced grass growth this Spring, culminating in an acute shortage of fodder.

Clearly the long-term answer to recent fodder shortages is increased grass production as soon as possible. I have asked the advisory services to prioritise advice to farmers in the period ahead and to focus on the optimum use of fertiliser in generating feed for the national herd.

I understand that sales to date this year of fertiliser are running significantly behind the corresponding levels of recent years. This indicates that, in the short term at least, there is significant scope for farmers to increase fertiliser usage, where appropriate, taking their location, soil fertility and other relevant factors into account, without exceeding the limits set out in the Nitrates Regulations.

The situation is being constantly monitored and I will continue to work with all stakeholders in the sector to get through this difficult period caused by very unusual weather patterns.

Forestry Premium

 548. 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 a forestry premium payment will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22751/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The applicant’s second instalment of the establishment grant must be paid before his annual premium payments can continue. However, the claim for the second instalment highlighted a slight error in the grant payment categories (GPCs) originally submitted in the applicant’s claim for the first instalment of the establishment grant. The Forest Service has been in contact with the applicant’s forester regarding the matter and, consequently, it has corrected the GPCs for future payments. On this basis, it is expected that the applicant’s second instalment establishment grant and his 2013 annual forestry premium will be paid within the next two weeks.

Farm Grants

 549. Deputy Michael McCarthy Information on Michael McCarthy Zoom on Michael McCarthy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if there is a grant available for the reconstruction of damaged farmyard outbuildings; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22761/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney There are no grants available at present from my Department for the reconstruction of damaged outbuildings on farms.

Public Sector Staff Remuneration

 550. Deputy Róisín Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the number of personnel in whole-time equivalent terms in his Department and in bodies under the aegis of his Department in each of the following earnings brackets: less than €20,000, €20,001 to €30,000, €30,001 to €40,000, €40,001 to €50,000, €50,001 to €60,000, €60,001 to €70,000, €70,001 to €80,000, €80,001 to €90,000, €90,001 to €100,000, €100,000 to €125,000, €125,001 to €150,000, €150,001 to €175,000, €175,001 to €200,000, €200,001 to €250,000, €250,001 to €300,000, €300,001 to €350,000, €350,001 to €400,000, €400,001 to €450,000, €450,001 to €500,000, and more than €500,000. [22782/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The number of full time equivalent personnel in my Department whose annual salary fall into the various ranges requested is set out in the table below. The information on the pay ranges of the staff of the state bodies under the remit of my Department is an operational matter for each of the bodies.

Pay Band Number of staff
more than 500,000
0
€250,001 – 500,000
0
€200,001 - 250,000
0
€175,001 - 200,000
1
€150,001 - 175,000
1
€125,001 - 150,000
8
€100,001 - 125,000
38
€90,001 - €100,000
175
€80,001 - €90,000
149
€70,001 - €80,000
150
€60,001 - €70,000
115
€50,001 - €60,000
577
€40,001 - €50,000
870
€30,001 - €40,000
828
€20,001-€30,000
317
less than €20,000
91
Total
3,320

Sugar Industry

 551. 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 his plans to revive the sugar beet industry here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22801/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney At the outset I would like to give the Deputy the background to this issue. The EU Sugar Regime underwent a radical reform in 2005 following major EU decisions to restructure the industry. A temporary restructuring scheme was introduced with the aim of reducing EU sugar production. Greencore, the holder of the entire Irish sugar quota, availed of this voluntary scheme, dismantled its facilities and ceased production in 2006. Ireland secured €353 million as part of the reform package of which €220 million went to beet growers, €127 million to Greencore and €6 million to machinery contractors.

  Post reform, production in the EU is now concentrated in 18 Member States. The present regime runs from 1 September 2006 to the 30 September 2015. There is no mechanism under the present EU Regulations which would allow for the re-instatement of the sugar quota for the growing of sugar beet in Ireland for the production of sugar. Of course, sugar beet is still grown in Ireland as a fodder crop.

  In 2011 I met with two separate groups which had conducted feasibility studies, into the possibility of rebuilding a new sugar industry in the country. At both meetings, I stated that any venture to develop a combined sugar/bioethanol production facility would have to be a commercial proposition, financed in total by investors and interested parties and make sound economic sense in order to be viable.

  I also further suggested to both groups, the desirability of there being only one single proposition in play, as both studies had indicated a potential for only one such viable project and both groups had appeared to accept the reasonableness of this position at the time. Only recently, I re-stated that any business plan for a new venture in this area, would need to be competitive and that it would have to justify the very substantial investment to build a new facility.

  In recent discussions at the Council of Agriculture Ministers, which I am chairing under our EU Presidency responsibilities, a deep divide emerged between one group of Member States, including Ireland, which favoured abolition of quotas in 2015 and another group of Member States which wished to extend quotas to 2020 and beyond. As current President of the Council, I made a compromise proposal that garnered the support of a large majority of Member States, to extend the quota regime for a further two years until 30 September 2017 when it will finally cease. This is the formal negotiating mandate for the Agriculture Council, as we enter the final phase of the ongoing CAP Reform negotiations.   The compromise has been welcomed strongly by those who want to re-establish a sugar industry in Ireland. It is my job to ensure that Ireland either has a quota or alternatively can produce sugar in the absence of EU quotas. I would, however, encourage caution on making decisions to planting sugar beet crops or any other investments until we know when Ireland will have the capacity to produce sugar again and when the regime is likely to end.

  The European Parliament is in favour of extending quotas to 2020. The Council is now in detailed trilogue discussions between the EU Commission and the Parliament on the general CAP Reform package, including the future of the EU Sugar Regime, and I will do everything I can to ensure that we end the Sugar Quota Regime in the EU as soon as possible, so that revival efforts here can get off the ground, as long as the commercial case can be made for them. I am hopeful that I can bring these talks to a successful conclusion before the end of Ireland’s Presidency role on 30 June next.

Forestry Grants

 552. 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 forestry payment will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22808/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Our records show that the applicant is registered with the Department’s Online Services since May 2012. In November 2012, the Forest Service informed its clients who were registered online (including this applicant) that their future premium payment applications would be processed online and that therefore it would not be sending paper Form 4s (i.e. the annual premium application form) for 2013 to those clients. This letter, however, invited the applicants to request a paper Form 4 in the event that they did not wish to apply for their 2013 annual premium using the online system. Our records show that the above named applicant did not request a paper Form 4.

As he has not applied online, a paper Form 4 will be sent to him by post shortly to enable him to apply for his premium. He may still apply online for his 2013 premium, or complete the paper Form 4 when he receives it.

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Applications

 553. Deputy Brian Walsh Information on Brian Walsh Zoom on Brian Walsh asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if consideration will be given to an application for single farm payment or disadvantaged area payment schemes in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Galway, taking into account that new regulations were introduced mid-year while applications had already been submitted; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22824/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney As the person named does not hold any Single Payment Entitlements, no payment is due under the Single Payment Scheme.

With regard to the 2012 Disadvantaged Areas Scheme, the person named is one of a number of applicants under the 2012 Scheme, whose cases were impacted by the requirement to have achieved a minimum stocking density of 0.3 livestock units per forage hectare on their holding in 2011, and who applied for and were granted derogation in this regard. However, while the holding was confirmed as having satisfied the six-month minimum stocking requirement, it did not, on the basis of the information available, satisfy the twelve-month average.

Therefore, as of now, no payment is due. However, should the applicant be in a position to provide satisfactory evidence of compliance with this latter requirement, the case will be further examined.

Agriculture Schemes Payments

 554. Deputy John McGuinness Information on John McGuinness Zoom on John McGuinness asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney when payment of the 40% grant scheme will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny. [22825/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney   The person concerned is an applicant for grant-aid under the Farm Improvement Scheme.   His application for payment has been approved and payment will issue to his bank account shortly.

Departmental Expenditure

 555. Deputy John McGuinness Information on John McGuinness Zoom on John McGuinness asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the individual amount of overtime paid in the case of each political or ministerial appointee for the period 2007 to date in 2013 relative to his office and the office of the Minister of State; if such payments were made to the Secretary General and advisers, and if so, the amounts for the same period. [22868/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The overtime paid to each political/ministerial appointee from 1st  January 2007 to date is set out in the table below. No overtime payments were made to the Secretary General or Ministerial Advisors.

MINISTER / MIN OF STATE GRADE Overtime

Mary Coughlan, Minister (1/1/07-6/5/08) Personal Assistant
2,550.47
  Personal Secretary
10,681.10
Brendan Smith, Minister (7/5/08-9/3/11) Personal Secretary
25,909.75
  Personal Assistant
27,540.21
Simon Coveney, Minister (10/3/11 to date) Press & Political Adviser
26,109.81
  Personal Secretary
17,489.36
Brendan Smith, Minister of State (1/1/07-12/7/07) Personal Secretary
2,876.03
  Personal Assistant
4,169.32
MINISTER/MINISTER OF STATE GRADE Overtime

John Browne

Minister of State

(14/6/07-12/5/08)
Temporary Clerical Officer
1,606.38
  Temporary Clerical Officer
1,655.83
Mary Wallace

Minister of State

(1/1/07-12/5/08)
Personal Assistant
1,477.04
Shane McEntee Minister of State (10/3/11-21/12/12) Personal Secretary
505.16
  Personal Assistant
1,479.45
  Personal Assistant
13,582.31

Agri-Environment Options Scheme Eligibility

 556. Deputy John McGuinness Information on John McGuinness Zoom on John McGuinness asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if a Department official will call on a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny to resolve a dispute between the landowner and his Department in relation to the measurement of a plot of land being claimed for under the agri-environment option scheme 1 in view of the fact that the farmer has had it professionally measured as 0.540 ha. and his Department has measured it as 0.45 ha.; and if he will expedite a response. [22891/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney As part of an inspection initiated on the 11th  of October 2011, the parcel in question was reduced from a claimed area of 0.5 hectare to a found area of 0.45 hectares.

  This decision was notified to the person named on the 4th  of January 2012. He was also advised of his right to seek a review of the decision and of his right to appeal the outcome of any such review to the Independent Agriculture Appeals Office. To date, no such application has been received. However, these options remain open to the applicant.


Last Updated: 29/04/2020 09:27:16 First Page Previous Page Page of 87 Next Page Last Page