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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 195-202
 Header Item Bovine Disease Controls
 Header Item Agri-Environment Options Scheme Applications
 Header Item Common Agricultural Policy Negotiations
 Header Item Animal Welfare
 Header Item Agri-Environment Options Scheme Payments
 Header Item Fallen Animal Statistics
 Header Item Government-Church Dialogue
 Header Item Live Exports

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 805 No. 2

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Written Answers Nos. 195-202

Bovine Disease Controls

 195. Deputy Luke 'Ming' Flanagan Information on Luke 'Ming' Flanagan Zoom on Luke 'Ming' Flanagan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the reason calves born with the BVD virus and found to be persistently infected animals do not warrant compensation in the same way that those found with TB or brucellosis do; if he will consider reviewing the current situation with regards to compensation for PI; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25967/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney BVD is a viral disease of cattle that is estimated to cost Irish farmers around €102m each year. The non-provision of funding for compensation during the compulsory phase of the BVD programme must be placed in the context of the economic benefits accruing solely to farmers arising from the eradication of this disease as well as the scarce budgetary resources available to my Department. Eradication of BVD disease is important to farmers and the strategy of my Department remains one of concentrating its scarce resources in continuing to support Animal Health Ireland financially in its ongoing work in developing the necessary infrastructure to eliminate the occurrence of BVD from the national herd thereby minimising financial losses for farmers and improving animal welfare.

BVD is not comparable to either bovine TB or Brucellosis which are zoonoses, i.e. communicable to humans. The eradication of these zoonotic diseases is of public health and economic importance nationally. The benefits of the BVD programme represent a private good to farmers: profitability improves as a result of the removal of BVD persistently infected (PI) animals from herds and the payback period for the removal of these animals is very short (6 months for dairy cattle and one year for beef cattle).

Agri-Environment Options Scheme Applications

 196. 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 decision will be made on applications for the agri-environment options scheme 3; when successful applicants will be informed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25976/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney A total of 9,703 AEOS III applications were received by the closing date and have now been fully processed. Letters informing applicants of the status of their individual applications are now being issued. Based on the annual budget of €20 million and following the ranking and selection process a total of 6,000 applicants are being approved for participation in the scheme.

Applicants should note that they should not undertake any actions listed in their application until approved for participation in the scheme as actions undertaken or expense incurred prior to formal approval will not be eligible for reimbursement.

Common Agricultural Policy Negotiations

 197. Deputy Derek Nolan Information on Derek Nolan Zoom on Derek Nolan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if he will seek funding for rare animal breeds under the Common Agricultural Policy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26031/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney EU Regulations provide for financial support for animals in danger of being lost to farming, more commonly referred to as rare breeds and support is currently available through the Rural Environment Protection Scheme and the Agri-Environment Options Scheme. Future policy will be determined in the context of the introduction of the EU regulatory framework governing the next programming period 2014-2020. I expect that support for animals in danger of being lost to farming will continue to qualify for support in any future Agri-Environment Schemes.

Animal Welfare

 198. Deputy Derek Nolan Information on Derek Nolan Zoom on Derek Nolan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney his plans for disowned horses located on commonage area (details supplied) in County Galway; and if he will statement on his intentions for the horses in the longer term. [26035/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The Control of Horses Act, 1996 provides extensive powers to local authorities, including powers of seizure and detention of stray or abandoned animals. My Department funds local authorities in their work in implementing the Act. Officials from my Department are liaising with local authority officials in Galway to underline how implementation of the Control of Horses Act, together with legislation governing equine identification, can assist with controlling horses, particularly with regard to horses that are straying and or abandoned so as to prevent injury or nuisance to persons or damage to property.

Agri-Environment Options Scheme Payments

 199. Deputy Timmy Dooley Information on Timmy Dooley Zoom on Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney when a person (details supplied) in County Clare will receive their agri-environment options scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26054/13]

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 1 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. The person named was selected for a ground inspection which took place on 9 May 2012. During this inspection, areas of non-compliance with the terms and condition of the scheme were noted in relation to the Natura action which will result in a penalty being imposed. On 7 September 2012, a letter issued to the person named outlining the nature of the penalty and the appeal options. To date, no appeal has been received by officials in my Department. The application is being finalised on the basis of the inspection findings and payment will issue shortly.

Fallen Animal Statistics

 200. 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 he will provide figures on farm animal fatalities for 2013; the way these figures compare to the previous five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26090/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The number of on-farm cattle fatalities for the period Jan – April 2008-2013 is as follows:

Year Fatalities
2008 152,648
2009 136,441
2010 124,325
2011 103,035
2012 115,724
2013 157,172


  Information on deaths of other species is not recorded.

  As will be seen from the data provided, mortality figures fluctuate from year to year. The reasons for annual variation include disease challenges, environmental factors, including weather related and fodder related issues, as well as population fluctuations and other issues including the national compulsory BVD eradication programme which recommends that persistently infected (PI) calves are culled as soon as possible after being identified. The Deputy will be aware too of the efforts that my Department and other stakeholders have been making to deal with the fodder crisis that we have seen in recent weeks and those efforts are continuing.

Government-Church Dialogue

 201. Deputy Andrew Doyle Information on Andrew Doyle Zoom on Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the discussions he has had with colleagues at the 27 May meeting he hosted in Dublin at the informal meeting of EU agriculture and fisheries Ministers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26108/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney I had very useful and very fruitful discussions with my Member State colleagues and with the European Parliament in the course of what I think was a very successful informal meeting of Agriculture Ministers in Dublin over the last few days. I would acknowledge in particular the positive and very helpful engagement of the European Parliament, which I believe made an important contribution to the Irish Presidency’s ongoing efforts to achieve a political agreement on the reform of the CAP by the end of June. It was clear that all three institutions acknowledge the fact that important decisions need to be made in the very short term.

I think the Parliament’s participation was particularly valuable in allowing all three institutions to have a meaningful exchange of ideas and to better understand each other’s positions on some of the key outstanding political issues. It also afforded the Council the opportunity to reflect on these exchanges and to have its own follow-up discussions on how the resolution of these political issues might be pursued. I have no doubt that this will prove to have been of invaluable assistance as we move into what I hope will be the final few weeks of negotiations.

The discussion with the European Parliament took place on Monday morning, when the Council was joined by the Chairman of the Parliament’s Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development, Paolo DeCastro, the Rapporteurs on each of the four CAP reform dossiers, and the Co-ordinators from each of the Parliament’s political groups. Mr. DeCastro and the Rapporteurs outlined their positions on key issues that included internal convergence of direct payments, coupled payments, sugar quotas, export refunds and areas of natural constraint. Ministers were then given an opportunity to state their concerns and to exchange views with the Parliament in an attempt to identify potential areas of common ground. This was a very useful and informative exchange, conducted in a very positive atmosphere in which it was clear that all three institutions remain firmly focused on achieving agreement by the end of the Irish Presidency.

Tuesday’s second day of the informal meeting featured a more regular Council gathering, during which I led a follow-up discussion that reflected on the outcome of Monday’s exchanges. The positions of each of the three institutions on the respective issues were debated by my Member State colleagues, and I sought their views on how the differences between the institutions might be narrowed in the broader context of reaching a satisfactory overall agreement. Again I was very satisfied with the exchanges, which were conducted in a very positive atmosphere and underpinned by a desire to find common ground with the Parliament.

I listened very carefully to the debate over the two days of the informal meeting, and it will very usefully inform the Presidency’s ongoing interaction with the Parliament and the Commission as we try to reach an accommodation over the remaining trilogues and the parallel political discussions in the coming weeks. Above all, the talks in Dublin have reinforced my confidence that I will be able to present a package of measures to the Council at the end of June that will allow us to finalise an overall political agreement within the timescale we set for ourselves at the commencement of the Irish Presidency.

Live Exports

 202. Deputy Denis Naughten Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney further to Parliamentary Question No. 194 of 23 May 2013, the current status of the five applications currently on hand; when each was received and when it is expected that a determination will be made on each application; when each of the two fully approved applications was received and when approval was given by his Department; if, in view of the points raised in the Topical Issues debate of 22 May 2013, he will prioritise the processing of the outstanding applications; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26163/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Ship approval is a complex process and normally involves a significant number of oral and written queries before a formal application can take place. On foot of the application, detailed documentation must be submitted in relation to the ship and this is reviewed by an independent marine surveyor. An inspection cannot take place until the documentation submitted is complete.

My Department facilitates the inspection of ships, often outside the boundaries of the European Union and in a manner convenient to the ship owners. In many cases, more than one inspection is required to ensure that ships meet the standards set out in Irish legislation. This is necessary to ensure optimum welfare standards and to minimise any risk to animals.

With regard to the two ships that have been approved, the application for one was received on 1 June 2012 and, following a second inspection and substantial refurbishment work, the ship was approved on 18 February 2013. The application for the second ship was received on 21 March 2013 and approval issued on 12 April 2013.

Applications for the five outstanding approvals were made earlier this year as follows: 26 January 2013, 14 February 2013, 18 March 2013, 18 April 2013, 15 May 2013.

Two of the ships involved have undergone inspections by an independent marine surveyor and a Department Veterinary Inspector. Both were deemed not to meet the standards laid out in the legislation in their current state. Detailed reports were issued to the ship owners on foot of these inspections. The other three applications are at the documentation review stage.


Last Updated: 29/04/2020 09:53:41 First Page Previous Page Page of 98 Next Page Last Page