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 Header Item Written Answers Nos 163-169
 Header Item Departmental Bodies Data
 Header Item Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Payments
 Header Item Agriculture Schemes Payments
 Header Item Agriculture Schemes Eligibility
 Header Item Suckler Welfare Scheme Payments
 Header Item Rural Development Programme Funding
 Header Item Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Payments

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 821 No. 3

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Written Answers Nos 163-169

Departmental Bodies Data

 163. Deputy Shane Ross Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross asked the Minister for Defence Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the number of quangos operating under the aegis of his Department; the total number of directors sitting on their boards; the aggregate fees incurred by the State in paying the remuneration of directors of these quangos; the number of quangos that have been created since the formation of the Government; the number that have been disbanded over the period; the projected cost to the taxpayer of the establishment and operation of these new quangos; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49951/13]

Minister for Defence (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The State Boards under the aegis of the Department of Defence when the Government took office were the Civil Defence Board, the Army Pensions Board and the Board of Coiste an Asgard. The Civil Defence Board was identified in the Public Service Reform Plan as a body to be abolished and legislation was passed by the Oireachtas in December 2012 for the dissolution of the Board. Its functions have now transferred back to the Department of Defence.

In the context of settling the Estimates for the Department of Defence for 2010, the Government decided that the national sail training scheme operated by Coiste an Asgard would be discontinued as recommended in the Report of the Special Group on Public Service Numbers and Expenditure. The formal wind up of the Company including voluntary strike off with the Companies Registration Office was completed in early 2013.

The only body remaining under the aegis of my Department is the Army Pensions Board, which is an independent statutory body established under the Army Pensions Act, 1927. Its primary function under the Army Pensions Acts is to investigate applications for pensions, allowances and gratuities arising from the death or disablement of members of the Defence Forces in the course of their military service. The Army Pensions Act, 1927 specifies that the Board shall consist of a chairman and two ordinary members. The two ordinary members must be qualified medical practitioners of whom one must be an officer of the Army Medical Corps. The chairman and the non military ordinary member are appointed by the Minister for Defence with the concurrence of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. The Army Medical Corps ordinary member is appointed by the Minister for Defence on the recommendation of the Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces. Annual fees for the chairperson and the civilian doctor are €7,618 and €5,079 respectively.

No new agencies have been established under the auspices of my Department since 9 March 2011.

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Payments

 164. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the reason a person (details supplied) in County Limerick has not received a headage payment for 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49683/13]

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 and 2013 Disadvantaged Areas Scheme, whose cases were impacted upon by the requirement to have achieved a minimum stocking density of 0.3 livestock units per forage hectare in 2011, and who applied for and were refused derogation in this regard. The person named subsequently appealed unsuccessfully to the independently chaired DAS Appeals Committee; the person named was informed accordingly and was advised of his right to pursue the matter with the Office of the Ombudsman.

Agriculture Schemes Payments

 165. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney when payments will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Donegal who was subject to a departmental inspection in August and is still not in receipt of any payments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49700/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The person named submitted a Single Farm Payment/Disadvantaged Areas Scheme application on 5 March 2013. EU Regulations governing the administration of these schemes require that full and comprehensive administrative checks, including in some cases on-farm inspections, be completed before any payments issue.

The application of the person named was selected for a ground eligibility/cross compliance inspection. This inspection has been completed and the results are now being finalised with the intention of issuing any payment due as soon as possible. In the event that any queries arise officials in my Department will shortly be in contact with the person named.

Agriculture Schemes Eligibility

 166. 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 farm payments in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49707/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney An issue arose in relation to the entitlements previously purchased by the person named. My Department is currently reviewing the position and endeavouring to resolve the issue, following the resolution of this matter, outstanding payments will issue.

Suckler Welfare Scheme Payments

 167. Deputy Noel Coonan Information on Noel Coonan Zoom on Noel Coonan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney when a payment for the suckler cow welfare scheme will be finalised in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49712/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The person named registered seventy seven animals under the 2011 Suckler Welfare and payment has issued in respect of sixty eight of these animals. Following the payment validation process, it was established that one animal was ineligible as the dam was under 22 months of age at the time of calving. Such animals are ineligible under the Terms and Conditions of the Welfare Scheme. Eight sets of twins were born into this herd in 2011. Payment is made on the basis of each eligible suckler cow in the herd and so only one payment is due in respect of each set of twins.

The applicant registered sixty seven animals under the 2012 Scheme. Payment has issued in respect of sixty three animals. Two sets of twins were born into this herd in 2012 and, therefore, payment will be made in respect of the two dams. One animal in ineligible as the calf died before the required measures were carried out. The weaning data has not been received for the remaining animal. Payment cannot be considered for this animal until the Department has been notified of the completion of the required measures.

Rural Development Programme Funding

 168. 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 the position regarding the delivery of 50:50 national co-financing to complement the EU rural development funding; if the income concerns of farmers who depend significantly on pillar II rural development payments will be adequately addressed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49722/13]

 172. Deputy Willie Penrose Information on Willie Penrose Zoom on Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the co-financing funding that will be available from the Government under the rural development plan between 2014 and 2020 under which approximately €330 million per annum is available from the EU; if consideration is being given to include measures that will be supported in terms of investment aid, land mobility and agri-environment in such a plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [49789/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney I propose to take Questions Nos. 168 and 172 together.

The European Council agreement on the Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF) provides a total of €2.19bn, or some €313m per year, for Ireland under Pillar 2 of the CAP for the period 2014 - 2020. The development of a new Rural Development Programme under Pillar 2 will be a key support in enhancing the competitiveness of the agri-food sector, achieving more sustainable management of natural resources and ensuring a more balanced development of rural areas.

A general EU co-financing rate of 53% is set out in the draft Rural Development Regulation but this rate may rise to a maximum of 80% for measures such as farm and business development, co-operation activities, and LEADER projects. Environmental type measures may be co-funded up to 75%. The total Exchequer funding that will be required to draw down the available EAFRD funding will depend on the types of measures included in the new Rural Development Programme and on the co-financing rates applied to these measures.

There are a number of conditions attached to Ireland’s allocation of €313 million per annum. The draft Regulation provides that at least 5% of EAFRD funding must be reserved for LEADER while the draft Common Provisions Regulation provides that 6% of EAFRD funding must be set aside to a national performance reserve. The funding set aside to the performance reserve will be allocated to each Member State following a performance review in 2019. The draft Rural Development Regulation also sets out that 30% of the total EAFRD amount must be reserved for environmental operations and climate change mitigation and adaptation measures. In addition to these considerations, transitional funding for commitments arising from the current RDP and continuing into the start of the new programming period will be included in the budgeting process for the coming years.

Work is currently ongoing in my Department to design the new Rural Development Programme (RDP) for the period from 2014 – 2020. In designing the new RDP, my Department must take account of the range of requirements set out in the draft Rural Development Regulation and the need to support key policy aims for the agri-food sector in the light of the Food Harvest 2020 strategy. In undertaking this work, a number of ex-ante analyses are being undertaken and a public consultation process has also taken place.

While final decisions in relation to what measures are to be included in the new RDP have not yet been made, my Department is in ongoing contact with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in relation to the overall financing that will be required. I expect to make decisions in relation to the measures to be supported under the new RDP by the end of this year, and to submit a draft programme to the Commission in early 2014.

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Payments

 169. 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 disadvantaged area scheme payment in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49740/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney As processing of the application of the person named under the 2013 Single Payment Scheme/Disadvantaged Area Scheme was recently complete, payment issued directly to the nominated bank account of the person named on 5 November 2013.


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