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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 1207-1226
 Header Item Low Carbon Roadmap
 Header Item Sea Lice Controls
 Header Item Agriculture Schemes Payments
 Header Item Agriculture Schemes Payments
 Header Item Harbours and Piers Funding
 Header Item Food Labelling
 Header Item Rights of Way Provision
 Header Item Rights of Way Provision
 Header Item Agriculture Schemes Eligibility
 Header Item Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Eligibility
 Header Item Single Payment Scheme Payments
 Header Item Single Payment Scheme Applications
 Header Item Farm Retirement Scheme
 Header Item Tax Reliefs Availability
 Header Item Single Payment Scheme Applications
 Header Item Farmers Early Retirement Scheme Payments
 Header Item Felling Licences Applications
 Header Item Milk Quota Applications

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 813 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 144 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 1207-1226

Low Carbon Roadmap

 1207. Deputy Seán Kyne Information on Seán Kyne Zoom on Seán Kyne asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the progress to date in the creation of a low carbon roadmap as sought under the Our Sustainable Future policy framework, which is necessary to enable the transition to a competitive, low carbon and environmentally sustainable economy.  [38099/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney My colleague, Minister Hogan, announced a national low-carbon road mapping process on 28 December 2012, requiring departments with responsibility for key sectors in the transition to a low carbon economy to prepare individual 2050 low carbon roadmaps. The key sectors are energy/built environment, transport and agriculture. This requirement has since been included in the draft heads of the Climate Action and Low-Carbon Development Bill which were released in Feb 2013.

Work on the development of key sectoral mitigation plans has been initiated and my Department has already begun the task of preparing the 2050 low-carbon roadmap for the agriculture, forestry and marine sectors. Teagasc is now completing a study for the agriculture sector towards 2050, and this work will be important in informing the development of the agriculture sectoral roadmap. Last Monday, my Department opened an eight week public consultation to inform this process, as well as on the draft report of the independent environmental analysis of scenarios related to achievement of the industry targets in Food Harvest 2020. The submissions received as a result of this consultation will be important in informing my Department's work in framing the low-carbon vision for 2050 and to work towards developing a robust and cost-effective policy platform for delivery of that vision.

Sea Lice Controls

 1208. Deputy Noel Grealish Information on Noel Grealish Zoom on Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney in view of his remarks on 8 May 2013 regarding the issue of sea lice, his views on the indication by a company (details supplied), Ireland’s largest producer of farmed salmon, in its last annual report that it has seen a rise in the number of its sites infested with sea lice above the trigger treatment level, from 6.2% in 2010 to 13% in 2011 and 19.9% in 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [38102/13]

 1209. Deputy Noel Grealish Information on Noel Grealish Zoom on Noel Grealish 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 pilot 764/09/ENV investigation into sea lice and salmon farming (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38103/13]

 1210. Deputy Noel Grealish Information on Noel Grealish Zoom on Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the reason he cancelled the pilot project to improve sea lice investigation control efficiency in the marine farming sector in Ireland, which was agreed on the advice of senior officials on 21 July 2010 as part of the SEA process of the Aquaculture Operational Programme and was to be 100% funded by the European Union under Article 41 of the EFF, and reversed the decision not to increase the targets for farmed salmon production until a sustained period of sea lice control has been demonstrated by the industry by awarding funding to and instructing Bord Iascaigh Mhara to develop salmon farming and specifically to apply for a licence to double Ireland’s farming salmon production; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [38104/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney I propose to take Questions Nos. 1208 to 1210, inclusive, together.

The Irish Seafood National Programme 2007-2013 is a framework programme under the national development plan covering supports to the seafood sector that are not co-funded by the EU. Most support to the seafood sector is co-funded by the European Fisheries Fund and is covered by the separate Seafood Development Programme 2007-2013. The Irish seafood national programme was an ambitious plan that foresaw Exchequer supports of almost €75 million being made available to the seafood sector over the three years 2011-2013. This was separate and additional to Exchequer investment under the EU co-funded Seafood Development Programme. Clearly the economic environment has changed greatly since these programmes were drawn up and the scale of Exchequer investment foreseen in the Irish Seafood National Programme has not proved possible. This has meant that not all of the Schemes originally envisaged could be implemented as originally foreseen.

As part of the original development of both programmes, a strategic environmental assessment was conducted. During the course of the public consultation on that SEA, the Central and Regional Fisheries Boards (now Inland Fisheries Ireland) raised concerns about the possibility of sea-lice emanating from salmon farms negatively affecting migrating wild salmon. The Minister for Communication, Energy and Natural Resources supported these concerns. Rather than delay the finalisation of the programmes, it was agreed to temporarily exclude salmon farms from financial support under the Programme until such time as the sea-lice issue had been satisfactorily resolved.

The Irish Seafood National Programme included targets for increases in production by 2015 for the main aquaculture species, including salmon. Because of the aforementioned temporary restriction on financial support to the marine salmon farming sector, arising from the SEA, the Programme acknowledged that the targeted increase in production of salmon would be adversely affected by the absence of development support. However, the Programme did not include any restriction on the development of the salmon farming sector itself, nor could it, and Government policy has throughout remained committed to supporting (without grant-aid) the development of the sector, in full compliance with law.

A pilot project was proposed in the Irish Seafood National Programme with the purpose of examining the feasibility of various additional measures for the control of sea-lice. This project was to be 100% funded by the Exchequer and did not involve the allocation of EFF funds. In the second half of 2010, there were communications in relation to the proposed pilot project between the then Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and the Minister for Communications Energy and Natural Resources. These communications related to the structure of a steering group that would develop and lead the project. My Department's records indicate that those communications did not advance beyond preliminary considerations, so the mooted pilot project never went beyond a proposal.

At present, my Department is processing one application for a "deep sea" salmon farm that was submitted by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM). BIM has submitted an application for an Aquaculture and a Foreshore Licence for the cultivation of Finfish near Inis Oirr in Galway Bay. BIM is an independent statutory body. The matters raised by the Deputy in relation to BIM are operational issues and are therefore matters for BIM itself. BIM's application and its accompanying Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is currently being considered fully in accordance with the provisions of the 1997 Fisheries (Amendment) Act and the 1933 Foreshore Act as amended. It would not be appropriate for me to comment further on an application which is under active consideration as part of a statutory process.

Ireland's sea lice control protocols are operated by the Marine Institute and involve regular inspections of marine fin fish sites by Marine Institute Inspectors (sites are inspected 14 times per annum). Results of inspections are provided to the farm operators within 5 working days. Results are also reported to my Department and to other interested parties such as Inland Fisheries Ireland. Overall results and trends are published annually. Notices to treat are issued to operators if lice levels are found to be above treatment trigger levels.

These protocols are considered to be more advanced than those operated in other jurisdictions for the following reasons:

- The inspection regime is totally independent of the industry;

- Data obtained as a result of inspections is published and made widely available;

- Treatment trigger levels are set at a low level.

In 2008, the State introduced a new Pest Management Strategy, supplementing the control regime already in place. Since the introduction of that Strategy, there has been a steady decline in the levels of sea lice infestation on farmed fish nationally during the Spring migration period for wild salmon. During the three years from 2010 to 2012, the percentage of inspections of farmed salmon where lice levels were below the treatment trigger levels has remained relatively constant at 82% in 2010, 87% in 2011 and 83% in 2012. The national mean lice level on farmed salmon during the Spring period has fallen from 1.74 in 2007 (prior to the introduction of the new pest management strategy in 2008) to 0.72 in 2010, 0.35 in 2011, 0.45 in 2012 and 0.19 in 2013.

Lice infestation levels on the sites operated by the company referred to by the Deputy were, in general, satisfactory during the period 2010 – 2012, including during the Spring migration period for wild salmon. There was, in fact, no significant rise in the number of sites with lice levels above the treatment trigger levels, although there were significant issues with lice control at one site. In response to elevated lice levels at this one site and following an active programme of treatments by the company, the management cell process, which is part of the pest management strategy, was invoked and the company was advised on the appropriate management of the stocks on site. The management cell recommended an accelerated harvest of all stocks from the site and the company co-operated fully with this process. The full results of the State's overall sea lice inspection and control programme are published annually by the Marine Institute and are available for download from the Marine Institute website
www.marine.ie.

In relation to the EU pilot complaint referred to by the Deputy, my Department forwarded all relevant material to the EU Commission, including material supplied by Inland Fisheries Ireland. In addition, the EU Commission arranged for Inland Fisheries Ireland to make a direct oral presentation of its position at a meeting with the Commission on 19 December 2011, at which my Department was also present. Following consideration of the scientific facts underpinning the State's control protocols for the management of sea lice, the EU Commission closed the case on 11 October 2012. Accordingly, my Department regards this matter as settled.

Agriculture Schemes Payments

 1211. 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 area aid is being claimed or has ever been claimed in respect of land (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38257/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney I have arranged for an official of my Department to make direct contact with the person named regarding this matter.

Agriculture Schemes Payments

 1212. 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 his views on whether a fraudulent claim for area aid may have been made in respect of land (details supplied) in County Kerry up to 1 April 2012; the action he will take to investigate whether his Department might have facilitated this activity; if the owner of the land will be furnished with information detailing the claimant in question; if not, the reason for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [38258/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The position remains as outlined in my replies to previous PQs on 28 November 2012 and 9 May 2013. The person named had submitted a request under the Freedom of Information Act for the names of the people who have claimed "Area Aid payments" on the land referred to in this Question. Unfortunately, this request had to be refused on the basis that third party information in relation to Single Payment/Disadvantaged Area scheme applications cannot be released under the Freedom of Information Act. The person was advised accordingly by letter dated 20 September 2012 and also of the appeal procedure. An official of my Department had also been in direct contact with the person named to further outline the position.

Harbours and Piers Funding

 1213. 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 if funding will be provided for four visitor moorings for the tourist town of Youghal, County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38263/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Youghal Harbour is owned by Cork County Council and responsibility for its repair and maintenance rests with the Local Authority in the first instance. My Department has however, provided funding for the development and repair of Local Authority owned harbours, piers and slipways in 2013 as part of the Fishery Harbour and Coastal Infrastructure Development Programme. All coastal Local Authorities were invited to submit applications under the programme but no application for funding was received from Cork County Council in 2013 for the provision of visitor moorings in Youghal.

Any application submitted by Cork County Council in respect of the provision of visitor moorings in Youghal under the Capital Programme in future years will be given consideration in the context of available Exchequer funding and overall national priorities.

Food Labelling

 1214. Deputy Nicky McFadden Information on Nicky McFadden Zoom on Nicky McFadden asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if he will outline some of the measures taken by his Department and the relevant agencies to improve the food traceability system here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38273/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Harmonised rules relating to food labelling and traceability are laid down at EU level. In Ireland, the Minister for Health has overall responsibility for the general food labelling legislation at both EU and domestic level. However my Department plays a collaborative role in policy and enforcement, together with the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI). In this regard, EU Food Information for the Consumer Regulation adopted in 2011 provides a framework for providing information to consumers in relation to the provenance of food, and provides for the extension of compulsory origin labelling to meats other than beef. I have been a strong proponent of appropriate food labelling and my Department will play an active part in deliberations in how best to implement these provisions, once the Commission has completed its impact analysis on the matter later this year.

In relation to traceability, the identification and registration of cattle, sheep, pigs, poultry and equines is also governed by EU Regulations and these Regulations have been transposed into national law. My Department's Animal Identification and Movement (AIM) database is a generic system that records identification and movement data on cattle, sheep, goats and pigs. The AIM system was developed using Internet-based technology and the majority of interactions with the system are electronic transactions. This system is widely recognised as among the best in the world.

In the wake of the horsemeat incident earlier this year, my Department is introducing a range of measures to improve traceability systems in the equine sector and is liaising with passport issuing agencies in Ireland in this regard. Protocols to allow abattoir operators to cross check the details of passports with these agencies have been developed, aimed at ensuring that only those horses eligible for slaughter are slaughtered. The Department is also developing a central database of horses which will involve migration of selected data from passport issuing agencies. The database is being populated with information provided from the databases maintained by the agencies, by the Department from records obtained at slaughter plants and knackeries and by local authorities in respect of records maintained at appropriate slaughter plants. The intention is that this database will be used at abattoirs to assist in verifying the authenticity of the passport for the equine presented and to record its date of slaughter.

Rights of Way Provision

 1215. 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 a mechanism exists to allow him, as successor to the Irish Land Commission, to give a right of way to a bog to a community development group as part of a proposed walkway; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [38310/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Disposal of the bog in question is subject to the provisions of the Irish Land Commission (Dissolution) Act, 1992 and must have regard to the objectives and purposes of the former Land Commission. Consequently, I am advised that it would not be appropriate to grant such a right of way over the property in isolation from a scheme for the disposal of the land.

Rights of Way Provision

 1216. 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 his plans to introduce legislation to allow a right of way to be given over lands owned by him as successor to the Irish Land Commission; his plans to introduce legislation to allow for the transfer of such lands to community development groups for the development of tourism initiatives; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38311/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney I have no plans to introduce legislation at this time.

Agriculture Schemes Eligibility

 1217. 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 clarify REPS entitlement in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38312/13]

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 December 2006 and received payments for the full six years of their contract. The contract under REPS 3 was completed on 30th November 2011.

An application under the Agri-Environment Options Scheme from the person named was received in my Department on 5th December 2012. The process of ranking and selecting all AEOS applicants was clearly set out in the scheme documentation. Acceptance into the scheme was established using the pre-determined selection criteria as follows:

1. farmers in the Boora region of Co. Offaly who chose Wild Bird Cover Option B (Grey Partridge) as one of their selected options,

2. farmers with a minimum of 0.5 hectares of designated land,

3. farm partnerships,

4. farmers who previously participated in REPS commencing with smallest farms, and

5. others based on farm size (again favouring smaller holdings).

As the person named was a previous participant in REPS, he was assessed under category 4. Based on the funding available farmers in category 4 with 22.06 hectares of utilisable agricultural area and below were successful. As the farm size of the person named is 44.37, the application was unsuccessful. On 27th May 2013, a letter issued to the person named informing him that he was not successful and setting out the reasons. The person was also informed of his right of appeal to AEOS Section. An appeal was received from the person named and he has been advised that his appeal was unsuccessful. He has been informed of the right to appeal this decision to the Agriculture Appeals Office.

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Eligibility

 1218. 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 person (details supplied) in County Kerry will qualify for the disadvantaged area scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38315/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Following processing of the application under the 2013 Disadvantaged Areas Scheme received from the person named on 21 May 2013, it has been found that the holding of the person named has not yet satisfied the Scheme minimum stocking density requirements as detailed in the Terms and Conditions of the Scheme. Namely the person named is one of a number of applicants under the 2013 Disadvantaged Areas Scheme whose cases are impacted by the requirement to have a minimum stocking density of 0.3 livestock units per forage hectare in 2011.

My Department wrote to all concerned applicants in August 2012 giving them the opportunity to seek derogation from this requirement. However, to date, my Department has no record of receiving an application for derogation in this instance. Furthermore, the holdings of eligible applicants are also required to have met a minimum stocking density in 2013 of 0.15 livestock units per forage hectare for a retention period of seven consecutive months, in addition to maintaining an annual average of 0.15 livestock units calculated over the twelve months of the scheme year. Therefore, this case is ineligible under the 2013 Scheme, both in respect of the requirement to have achieved the minimum stocking in 2011 and also as the holding has not been confirmed as having satisfied the scheme minimum stocking density requirements.

Single Payment Scheme Payments

 1219. 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 if he will discuss the proposal by the European Commission to advance 2013's Common Agricultural Policy direct payments; the ramifications for Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38354/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney  I can confirm that agreement was reached in Brussels last week which provides for an advance payment under the 2013 Single Payment Scheme. This will now allow us to make advance payments, at a rate of 50%, to those applicants whose applications are confirmed fully clear, with effect from 16 October, with balancing payments being made with effect from 1 December.

  My approach to the Agriculture Commissioner had been prompted by the protracted unseasonable weather which prevailed throughout the country, which culminated in a serious national fodder shortage which led to severe difficulties for farmers. Being acutely aware of the significance to farmers and the wider rural economy of the Single Payment, and mindful of the importance of income flow, I have been particularly concerned at the difficulties caused for farmers by the adverse weather conditions during the first half of the year.  

The total value of the advance payments, which will begin issuing as and from 16 October, the first day of the new EU financial year, will release payments worth some €600 million. The benefit in making these payments six weeks earlier than otherwise provided for under the existing rules of the scheme will be particularly beneficial at this time, both to the individual farmers concerned and also the wider rural community.

I can assure all concerned that my officials will do all that is needed to ensure the maximum number of applicants receive their advance payment at the earliest possible date.

Single Payment Scheme Applications

 1220. Deputy Paul J. Connaughton Information on Paul Connaughton Zoom on Paul Connaughton asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney when the first tranche of single farm payment will issue in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Galway; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38381/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney  A 2013 Transfer of Entitlements application form was received by my Department on 22nd April 2013 in respect of the person named above. Both parties involved in the Transfer of Entitlements were contacted by my Department advising that the person who witnessed the signatures on the transfer form was not a valid witness. A re-witnessed form was received in my Department. However, the form has not been re-signed and therefore has been returned to both herdowners for appropriate action.

My Department previously accepted a Peace Commissioner as an appropriate person to witness Transfer of Entitlement Application forms. However, that practice was discontinued in 2012 and now only solicitors, members of Teagasc and Agricultural Consultants can witness the signatures. The reason for the change is that there is no available updated register or reliable data base to confirm that the person signing the form as a witness is in fact a Peace Commissioner. In the absence of such verification being possible, the practice was changed to remove the risk of fraudulent activity and maintain the integrity of the process.

As soon as the form is re-signed in the presence of appropriate witness, the application will be processed for payment.

Farm Retirement Scheme

 1221. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney his plans to implement a further early retirement scheme which will allow older farmers to retire and encourage younger farmers to take over; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38397/13]

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

Tax Reliefs Availability

 1222. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney his plans to introduce further tax reliefs to farmers in budget 2014 to allow older farmers to transfer land to younger farmers; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [38398/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Recent Budget measures have seen progressive amendments to the taxation code to encourage transfer of land from older to younger farmers.

Retirement Relief on Capital Gains Tax

Retirement relief from Capital Gains Tax (CGT) on land transfers has been available for a number of years where an individual over 55 years disposes of some or all of his land once certain criteria are met. There are two separate Retirement relief thresholds depending on the relationship of the transferor to the transferee. Budget 2012 introduced the following changes to these thresholds with effect from the 1 January 2014, with the 2 year lead in period flagged in advance to allow for an orderly transition:

a) Transfer or Disposal of land to a person other than one's child

For land transfers by persons aged between 55 – 66 years of age where the consideration is less that €750,000 there is full relief on CGT. For land transfers by persons aged over 66 years of age the amount of full CGT relief is only available on considerations up to €500,000 to encourage earlier lifetime transfer of land holdings.

b) Transfer of land to one's child

Irrespective of the amount of consideration for the transfer, full CGT relief may be claimed by a person aged between 55 – 66 years of age on the transfer to his/her child.

For land transfers by persons aged over 66 years of age the amount of full CGT relief is only available on considerations up to €3 million, again to encourage earlier lifetime transfer of land holdings. If the child disposes subsequently of the land within 6 years clawback of the above reliefs applies.

Stamp Duty on Land Transfers

Budget 2012 introduced new lower stamp duty rates for land transfers with a 2% rate now applicable to non-family transfers; a half rate or 1% was introduced for land transfers to close relations until the end of 2014. Prior to Budget 2012 a stamp duty rate of up to 6% was applicable on land transfers. In the most recent Budget 2013 the 100% relief on stamp duty for land transfers to certain young trained farmers was extended for a further 3 year period to end of 2015.

The issue of introducing further tax reliefs in Budget 2014 is a matter in the first instance for the Minister for Finance. The taxation measures announced in Budgets 2012 and 2013 reflected the Government's commitment to the agri-food industry and in particular to the expansion planned in the Food Harvest 2020 strategy, and I will again be engaging with the Minister for Finance before the introduction of Budget 2014 in relation to further progressive taxation measures linked to policy priorities in my Department.

Single Payment Scheme Applications

 1223. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the outcome of a review of a single farm payment in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38532/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Following a Ground Eligibility inspection initiated on the 19th of June 2012, at which a number of overclaims were recorded, a request to have the outcome reviewed was submitted on the 26th of November 2012. As part of the review a number of parcels of land were re-visited and reassessed but the reviewing officer deemed the original outcome to be correct and upheld the original decision. A letter outlining this decision was sent to the person named on the 29th of July 2013. The letter also explained how he could appeal the outcome to the independent Agriculture Appeals Office. To date no such appeal has been made.

Farmers Early Retirement Scheme Payments

 1224. 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 the suspension of an early retirement pension scheme payment to a person (details supplied) in County Limerick. [38545/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney This matter is currently under review with the Agricultural Appeals office who will notify the person named directly of their decision.

Felling Licences Applications

 1225. Deputy Jim Daly Information on Jim Daly Zoom on Jim Daly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the position regarding an application from Cork County Council for a felling licence to assist with flood alleviation works in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38569/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney An application from Cork County Council for a Limited Felling Licence was received by my Department in August 2013. At the request of the Department's forestry inspector, the following bodies were contacted by the Felling Section for their recommendations and observations regarding the proposed felling:

- National Parks and Wildlife Service

- Inland Fisheries Ireland

- Planning & Environment Section, Cork County Council

- Forest Service Archaeologist

All of the responses received from these bodies have been sent to the forestry inspector for review, and his report and recommendation regarding the issue of a Limited Felling Licence is expected in a matter of days. If approval is recommended, the licence will issue immediately.

Milk Quota Applications

 1226. 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 position regarding new entrants to the dairying scheme for 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [38572/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Details of the fifth and final Scheme for the Allocation of Milk Quota to New Entrants to Dairying were announced in March of this year. The Scheme had a closing date of 7 June 2013. All applications received by that deadline were processed by officials in my Department to ensure compliance with the eligibility criteria as set out in the detailed rules of the scheme. Applications that satisfied the eligibility criteria were then presented to an independent panel for assessment.

I announced the summary results on 27 August last, and the individual results were issued to the respective applicants by post on the 28 August. In summary, 91 successful applicants were allocated 15.1 million litres of milk quota under the Scheme. Of this total, 55 "brand new" entrants, who had not previously held quota, will each receive allocations of 200,000 litres, totalling 11 million litres. The remaining 36 successful applicants, who had previously purchased quota as either new entrants or as successors under the Milk Quota Trading Scheme, will receive allocations totalling a further 4.1 million litres.


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