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. 455-473
 Header Item Milk Quota Application Numbers
 Header Item Potato Sector
 Header Item Forestry Premium Payments
 Header Item Rural Environment Protection Scheme Eligibility
 Header Item Departmental Staff Sick Leave
 Header Item Animal Welfare Issues
 Header Item Disadvantaged Areas Scheme
 Header Item Common Agricultural Policy Negotiations
 Header Item Stocking Densities
 Header Item Common Fisheries Policy Negotiations
 Header Item Rights of Way
 Header Item Single Payment Scheme Appeals
 Header Item Single Payment Scheme Appeals
 Header Item Coillte Teoranta Harvesting Rights Sale
 Header Item Common Fisheries Policy Reform
 Header Item Departmental Agencies Issues
 Header Item Departmental Bodies
 Header Item Departmental Bodies Establishment
 Header Item Child Care Services Provision

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 807 No. 2

First Page Previous Page Page of 89 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 455-473

Milk Quota Application Numbers

 455. Deputy John Deasy Information on John Deasy Zoom on John Deasy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the number of applications received and approved, by county, under the scheme for the allocation of milk quota to new entrants in 2011 and 2012. [29146/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The Scheme for the Allocation of Milk Quota to New Entrants To Dairying invites applications from interested parties under three New Entrant categories, namely:

- Category A   - Brand New Entrant to Dairying

- Category B   - Purchaser of Quota as a New Entrant through the Milk Quota Trading Scheme

- Category C   - Purchaser of Quota as a Successor through the Milk Quota Trading Scheme

The tables contain the geographical breakdown of the successful candidates of the 2011 and 2012 schemes under the three categories. The number of eligible applications received for each county appears in brackets.

2011 SCHEME FOR NEW ENTRANTS TO DAIRYING

County Category A Category B Category C
Carlow 2 (3) 0 0
Cavan 0 (2) 1 (1) 0
Clare 0 (1) 2 (2) 0
Cork 12 (46) 6 (6) 0
Donegal 1 (1) 0 0
Galway 0 (2) 2 (2) 0
Kerry 1 (10) 2 (2) 1 (1)
Kildare 1 (5) 0 0
Kilkenny 6 (11) 0 0
Laois 1 (2) 0 0
Limerick 0 (15) 3 (3) 0
Louth 0 (1) 1 (1) 0
Meath 1 (3) 1 (1) 0
Monaghan 0 (4) 0 1 (1)
Offaly 3 (5) 0 0
Roscommon 0 (4) 1 (1) 1 (1)
Tipperary 15 (35) 1 (1) 3 (3)
Waterford 6 (14) 0 0
Westmeath 0 (1) 3 (3) 0
Wexford 2 (18) 0 0
Wicklow 2 (4) 1 (1) 1 (1)
TOTAL 53 (187) 24 (24) 7 (7)


2012 SCHEME FOR NEW ENTRANTS TO DAIRYING
County Category A Category B Category C
Cavan 0 (5) 1 (1) -
Clare 0 (2) 1 (1) 1 (1)
Cork 18 (62) 4 (4) -
Donegal 0 (1) - -
Galway 1 (5) 1 (1) 1 (1)
Kerry 0 (8) 5 (5) -
Kildare 1 (2) 1 (1) -
Kilkenny 4 (17) 1 (1) -
Laois 3 (5) - -
Limerick 5 (20) 2 (2) 3 (3)
Longford 0 (2) 1 (1) -
Louth 0 (1) - -
Meath 1 (4) 1 (1) -
Monaghan 0 (2) - -
Offaly 2 (3) - -
Tipperary 11 (30) 4 (5) -
Waterford 7 (20) 3 (3) -
Westmeath 0 (7) 2 (2) -
Wexford 3 (14) 2 (2) 1 (1)
Wicklow 1 (3) - -
TOTALS 57 (213) 29 (30) 6 (6)


  In March last, I announced details of the 2013 Scheme for the Allocation of Milk Quota to New Entrants to Dairying. The scheme had a closing date of 7th June 2013. Approximately 170 applications were received in my Department before this deadline.

  These applications will be subject to a preliminary examination to ensure compliance with the eligibility criteria as set out in the Detailed Rules of the Scheme. All eligible applications will be submitted to the Assessment Panel for examination.

  I expect to be in a position to announce the results of the 2013 Scheme in late August.

Potato Sector

 456. 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 he will provide an update on potato variety development; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29163/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Teagasc is the main potato breeder in Ireland. Its breeding programme originally focused on the breeding of varieties for the home market but since the inception of its partnership with Irish Potato Marketing, (IPM) in the 1970’s, the scope of the breeding programme expanded very successfully to include breeding for the export market as well as to producing a suitable processing variety for the home market. Since its partnership with IPM, Teagasc has released 39 varieties and at least 25 of these are still being marketed commercially by IPM in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.

The first big success was the variety Cara, bred in the early 1970’s. Cara became the main seed export variety from Ireland following its release and is still a popular variety in the U.K., North Africa and the Mediterranean regions. The variety Rooster, released in 1990 as a variety suitable for the Irish home market, is probably the best-known of the Teagasc-bred varieties and accounts for 56% of the total potato area grown in Ireland. Less well known varieties such as Setanta and Infinity, released in 2004 and 2009 respectively, are showing promise in the potato crisping industry.

The Teagasc Breeding Programme usually submit 3 to 4 new seedlings each year to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s Crop Evaluation and Certification Programme, to evaluate yield and agronomic characters and to ensure the uniformity and stability of the potentially new varieties. A successful outcome from these examinations is a legal prerequisite before commercial marketing of new varieties can commence. Fourteen new varieties were released from the Teagasc Breeding Programme over the last 10 years.

Forestry Premium Payments

 457. 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 a forestry premium in respect of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29197/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney A remedial works letter issued to the applicant in March 2013 because his plantation was not up to the required standard. A report confirming that works have been completed has been received from the applicant’s forester and the Forest Service District Inspector has been notified. A site inspection is scheduled for the week ending 28th June 2013. The subsequent premium for 2013 cannot be paid until the plantation is deemed by the Forest Service to be up to the required standard.

Rural Environment Protection Scheme Eligibility

 458. Deputy Arthur Spring Information on Arthur Spring Zoom on Arthur Spring asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the position regarding a REP scheme 4 appeal in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and when a final decision will issue on same.  [29223/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The situation in relation to the participation in and payment under REPS 4 to the person named is under review by my Department and a written reply will issue directly to the deputy in the next few days.

Departmental Staff Sick Leave

 459. Deputy Barry Cowen Information on Barry Cowen Zoom on Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if he will provide in tabular form the total number of uncertified sick days taken by employees in his Department; the average uncertified sick days per employee taken; the total certified sick days taken by employees; the average certified sick days per employee; the total sick days taken by employees; the average total sick days and median overall sick days per employee between 2009 to 2012, inclusive.  [29265/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The information requested by the Deputy is contained in the Table below:

  REQUESTED SICK LEAVE STATISTICS 2009 – 2012 IN RESPECT OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FOOD AND THE MARINE

- 2009 2010 2011 2012
Total number of uncertified sick days taken in Year 2,700 2,259 2,168 1,861
Average number of uncertified sick days per employee in Year 0.6 0.5 0.6 0.5
Total number of certified sick days taken in Year 36,709 31,195 28,628 26,662
Average number of certified sick days per employee in Year 8.4 7.4 7.6 7.2
Total number of sick days taken in Year 39,409 33,454 30,796 28,523
Average number of sick days per employee in Year 8.9 7.9 8.1 7.7
Median overall sick days in Year 2 2 2 2
- - - - Note: Average calculations are based on the total numbers employed in the Department during the course of the year in question, regardless of whether individuals joined or left during the year.

Animal Welfare Issues

 460. Deputy Tom Fleming Information on Tom Fleming Zoom on Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if he will introduce a horse culling scheme (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29335/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney My Department makes available substantial resources to deal with equine related issues. In particular, funding is provided to Local Authorities under the Control of Horses Act, 1996, to enable these bodies implement their extensive powers relating to the control and welfare of stray or abandoned horses. In keeping with advice on humane disposal of horses from the Farm Animal Welfare Advisory Council (which comprises representatives from a wide range of stakeholder organisations including farming, equine and welfare bodies), substantial numbers of horses are disposed of each year under the Control of Horses Act. There are no plans at this juncture to go outside this arrangement. The horse industry too must play its role and respond to changes in the market place and educate and increase awareness among owners on responsible breeding, particularly in the current economic environment.

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme

 461. Deputy Tom Fleming Information on Tom Fleming Zoom on Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if he will amend the current seven-month retention of farm animals for disadvantaged area scheme purposes to at least the former retention timeframe of six months in view of the fodder crisis, caused by adverse climatic conditions over the past few years which have led to severe hardship and financial losses to many farmers and badly affected the welfare of their animals; if he will urgently address this issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [29338/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The aims of the Disadvantaged Areas Scheme are:

- Ensuring continued agricultural land use, thereby contributing to the maintenance of a viable rural society;

- Maintaining the countryside;

- Maintaining and promoting sustainable farming systems, which, in particular, take account of environmental protection requirements.   Given the restrictions faced by those farming in recognised Disadvantaged Areas and mindful of the aims of the Scheme, as outlined, it will be readily appreciated that appropriate stocking levels are crucial. In this regard, balance must be struck between the need to ensure that at least the minimum is done to ensure the land is adequately utilised and grazed, while at the same time being sufficiently aware of the natural constraints. In this regard the minimum stocking levels currently set under the Scheme, which are not unduly onerous, achieve this twin objective.

  Bearing in mind the efforts of my Department to help farmers maintain stocking levels in response to weather difficulties, I believe that the terms of the 2013 Scheme, as previously announced, remain appropriate. However, farmers with genuine fodder-related stocking difficulties may avail of the force majeure provisions of the Scheme.

Common Agricultural Policy Negotiations

 462. 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 discussions he has had to date with the European Commission as part of the Common Agricultural Policy reform to ensure price stability and a fair return to the farmer from the market for their produce; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [29393/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney I have regular contact and discussions with Commissioner Cioloş concerning reform of the Common Agricultural Policy. I spoke to him by telephone as recently as last week and I will be meeting him later this week. In these negotiations, I have always robustly defended the principles and objectives of the CAP and have made it clear that Ireland’s aim in this reform is to maintain the viability of Irish family farms by, inter alia, providing the stability of decoupled direct payments backed up by the safety-net of market supports.

Stocking Densities

 463. 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 considers the output of organic nitrogen per hectare, NPH, on livestock farms as a good indication of productivity and stocking rates; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29394/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney I would consider that the output of organic nitrogen per hectare, NPH, on livestock farms is a good indication of stocking density on those farms. In response to a previous question from the Deputy, I provided data on NPH based on payment per hectare categories as follows:

Payment per hectare category Number of farms Average NPH per Category
< 250 Euro 49,804 61
> 250 <= 350 27,903 93
> 350 <= 450 15,964 106
> 450 <= 500 3,777 109
> 500 6,880 112


  Note that the payment per hectare categories are based on the 2010 SPS payment database, which my Department has used to model various CAP reform proposals. The nitrogen per hectare (NPH) figures are calculated for the purpose of enforcing the Nitrates Directive, based on data from the AIM and SPS systems. Please note also that these NPH figures (from livestock manure) are calculated using the claimed/reference area for the whole farm (whichever is the lesser), including arable lands. Additionally, NPH is also influenced by the type of stock held on the farm. Farms which are exclusively arable are excluded from this data.

   Based on the same payment per hectare categories, the 2010 modelling database shows the following stocking densities expressed as livestock units per hectare. It should be borne in mind that these are the average values per payment category, and there would be a considerable range of stocking densities within each category.
Payment per hectare category Stocking density

(Livestock units per hectare)
less than €250 0.80
250-350 1.52
350-450 1.75
450-500 1.81
over €500 1.82


  While stocking density does not represent all the elements of agricultural productivity, it is a tangible measurement of activity where data from my Department is readily available.

   This data shows that, using average results per payment category, farmers on higher payment per hectare rates have roughly double the stocking density of those below the average. However, it does also show that the stocking density of farms on the very highest payment rates (e.g. over €500 per hectare) is not significantly higher than the stocking density of farms just above the national average (e.g. €300 to €400 per hectare).

Common Fisheries Policy Negotiations

 464. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if he has met with Iascairí Intíre na hÉireann or if he will give an undertaking to meet Iacairi Intire na hEireann in view of the recent EU discussions on common fisheries policy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29395/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney As you will be aware, the Irish EU Presidency recently concluded its work on securing agreement on CFP reform, which had been identified as a priority for the Presidency. The agreement, concluded after months of complex negotiations with the European Parliament, will be of significant benefit to all fisheries groups as it places the concept of long term sustainability at the core of European fisheries policy. This radical reform will support the rebuilding of fish stocks in our waters as Total Allowable Catches (TACs) and quotas are set to deliver maximum sustainable yield by 2015, where possible and by 2020 for all stocks and the wasteful practice of discarding fish is phased out. The changes once implemented will mean, real, meaningful reform of the Common Fisheries Policy and will determine European fisheries policy for the next decade and beyond.

I am informed that this group have previously met with Bord Iascaigh Mhara, who are responsible for development of the seafishing sector. However, BIM advise that there has been no meeting since the issue was previously raised by the Deputy last September. BIM staff work closely with all players in the sector to promote the development of the fishing and seafood industries. If the group wish to have further discussions to explore areas of interest or concern with BIM a further meeting may be arranged at the request of the group setting out the issues they wish to discuss. Officials from my Department would also be available to meet with a delegation from Iascairí Intíre na hÉireann if there are issues that require further discussion.

I suggest that the group make contact with my office stating the specific issues they wish to discuss. Their request for such a meeting will be considered and then forwarded to the relevant officials involved, if applicable.

Rights of Way

 465. 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 contract confirming a right of way will be finalised by Coillte in respect of lands (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29397/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Coillte Teoranta was established as a private commercial company under the Forestry Act, 1988 and day-to-day operational matters, such as land transactions, are the responsibility of the company. The company has, however, advised that a grant of a right of way from Coillte at the location mentioned by the Deputy was completed on 28th May 2013. It is noted that the grant was not to the person mentioned by the Deputy but may be a related person. The company has also advised that the grant and all relevant documents have been sent to this person’s solicitor.

Single Payment Scheme Appeals

 466. 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 an appeal for single farm payment in respect of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the update of this case. [29401/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney As stated in my response to previous Parliamentary Questions on this case on 16th April 2013, the decision of the Independent Agriculture Appeals Office, which was to disallow the appeal and uphold the Department’s original decision, was notified to the applicant on 12th March 2013.

  The Appeals Office also set out the further avenue available to the applicant, involving reference to the Office of the Ombudsman.

Single Payment Scheme Appeals

 467. Deputy Tom Fleming Information on Tom Fleming Zoom on Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if he will expedite a single farm payment appeal in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29408/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney An appeal was received in the Agriculture Appeals Office from the person named on 14 March 2013. The case is currently being examined and a decision will be made as soon as possible and communicated to the person named.

Coillte Teoranta Harvesting Rights Sale

 468. Deputy John Browne Information on John Browne Zoom on John Browne asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the position regarding the proposed sale of Coillte; and if he supports the decision to sell it off. [29413/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Further to the Government decision that a concession for the harvesting rights to Coillte’s forests be considered for sale, NewERA, Coillte, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and my Department examined the financial and other implications of developing the potential of Coillte’s forest assets. This examination included the identification of the forestry assets involved, the determination of their value and the consideration of a number of issues associated with the proposed sale of the harvesting rights. These included, interalia  , the possible impact on the timber industry, public access to recreational land and potential impacts, both environmental and social.

  The overall analysis on the proposed sale of Coillte harvesting rights has been finalised, the outcome of which is currently being considered by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform and myself. A report and recommendations will be brought to Government shortly for consideration.

Common Fisheries Policy Reform

 469. Deputy John Browne Information on John Browne Zoom on John Browne asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the position regarding the Common Fisheries Policy; its implications for Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29214/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) was secured after many months of extremely complex negotiations with the European Parliament and is a significant achievement of the Irish EU Presidency. This radical reform will support the rebuilding of fish stocks in our waters as Total Allowable Catches (TACs) and quotas are set to deliver maximum sustainable yield by 2015, where possible and by 2020 for all stocks and the wasteful practice of discarding fish is phased out. The changes once implemented will mean real meaningful reform to the Common Fisheries Policy and will determine European fisheries policy for the next decade and beyond.

Among the most significant aspects of the reforms for Irish fishermen are:

- A central role for the fishing industry through new more regionalised approaches to decision making. It will empower fishermen by giving them a key role in the decision making for their fisheries.

- This reform places long term sustainability at the core of fisheries policy with annual fishing quotas based, in future, on sound scientific advice. Rebuilding of fish stocks so that fishing levels are based on Maximum Sustainable Yield; leading to potentially higher quotas for fishermen over time.

- Practical and phased discards policy where in early years of implementation, TACs and quotas will be set to take account of current levels of discards- this should see quotas for Irish fishermen increase in the short term;

- Technical measures to avoid and minimise catches of juvenile fish;

- It also involves a strong commitment to protect juvenile fish and spawning grounds and to develop and strengthen biologically sensitive areas; it commits to continue and further strengthen conservation measures in biologically sensitive areas which includes the BSA off the South and West coast of Ireland (new Irish box).

- The Hague Preferences are maintained and given increased reference. These are critically important for Ireland and each December have given us an increased share of traditional whitefish stocks such as cod, haddock and whiting in the waters off our coast when stock levels are decreasing.

I strongly believe that these reforms once implemented and embedded will provide the basis for a significant period of growth in both our own domestic Irish fishing industry and in European fisheries generally.

Departmental Agencies Issues

 470. 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 if he will list the regulators which are accountable to his Department; the administrative cost of operating each regulator in 2012; the accommodation costs and the number of staff employed; the total income and expenditure in 2012 for each regulator; his plans to amalgamate some regulatory offices and to amalgamate some regulatory processes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29416/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney My officials have clarified that Deputy Naughten’s question refers to regulators such as the Financial Regulator under the Department of Finance, Taxi Regulator under the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport or Energy Regulator under the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government. There are no such regulators accountable to me.

Departmental Bodies

 471. 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 if he will outline in tabular form the number of semi-State organisations currently in operation under the aegis of his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29807/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney There are currently 12 semi-State organisations that fall under the aegis of this Department:

1. Bord Bia

2. Bord na gCon

3. BIM

4. Coillte

5. Horse Racing Ireland

6. Irish National Stud

7. Marine Institute

8. National Milk Agency

9. Sea Fisheries Protection Authority

10. Teagasc

11. Veterinary Council of Ireland

12. Aquaculture Licence Appeals Board (ALAB).

Departmental Bodies Establishment

 472. 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 if he will outline the number of new semi-State organisations under his aegis which have been established since March 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29820/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney No new semi-State organisations have been established since March 2011 under the aegis of my Department.

Child Care Services Provision

 473. 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 the supports available to a person (details supplied) in Dublin 9. [28796/13]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald Significant investment totalling in excess of €260 million is being provided this year by my Department to assist parents with the cost of child care.

My Department provides two targeted child care support programmes - the Childcare Education and Training Support (CETS) programme and the Community Childcare Subvention (CCS) programme - and also the universal Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programme.

The CETS programme provides €145 towards the weekly cost of full time child care places to participating child care services in both the community and commercial sectors for qualifying trainees and students. The eligibility criteria under which trainees and students qualify for the programme is determined by FÁS and the Vocational Educational Committees (VECs). Students on part-time courses are funded on a pro rata basis.

The CCS programme provides funding to community-based child care services to enable them to provide child care at reduced rates to parents in receipt of social welfare payments or on low or relatively modest incomes. For the purpose of the CCS programme, disadvantage and qualifying income are determined by reference to a range of means-tested allowances and payments including receipt of a social welfare payment, Family Income Supplement (FIS) and qualification for a medical or GP visit card. Eligibility for a GP visit card is based on net income and takes account of outgoings such as rent and mortgage repayments and other expenses including child care costs and travelling expenses. As a result, parents with middle incomes may also benefit from subvention.

The ECCE programme provides one free preschool year to all eligible children in the year before commencing primary school. Children aged between 3 years 2 months and 4 years 7 months at 1 September in the relevant year qualify for a maximum of 15 hours per week free preschool provision over a 38 week period. This is a universal programme to which all children have access.

You may also be aware that, as part of Budget 2013, I announced with my colleague the Minister for Social Protection, a joint school age child care initiative. This After-school Childcare Programme, which represents a full year investment of €14 million, will provide important support to parents in low income families wishing to take up employment, by ensuring that some 6,000 quality after-school care places are provided to support children's development.

Eligibility for this programme is determined by the Department of Social Protection. Officials from the Department of Social Protection and my Department are continuing in close collaboration on the operation of the programme. The first pilot phase has commenced with up to 500 child care places available, with Department of Social Protection local offices in Tralee, Mullingar, Dundalk, Cork City, Finglas, King's Inn and Limerick City participating. The second phase of the pilot will be rolled out in July, with the full roll-out of the programme in September 2013, to coincide with the new school year.

These programmes have been maintained and expanded despite the ongoing need to reduce Government expenditure and they represent a significant investment in supporting parents with the cost of child care.

Fingal County Childcare Committee (tel. 01 8077660) will advise parents in relation to their eligibility under these programmes.


Last Updated: 29/04/2020 10:09:58 First Page Previous Page Page of 89 Next Page Last Page