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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 546-564
 Header Item Milk Quota Cessation
 Header Item Public Procurement Regulations
 Header Item Single Payment Scheme Payments
 Header Item Industrial Disputes
 Header Item Agri-Environment Options Scheme Payments
 Header Item Consultancy Contracts Expenditure
 Header Item Milk Quota Applications
 Header Item Installation Aid Scheme Applications
 Header Item Installation Aid Scheme Applications
 Header Item Grant Payments
 Header Item Departmental Funding
 Header Item Agriculture Scheme Eligibility
 Header Item Severe Weather Events
 Header Item Single Payment Scheme Appeals
 Header Item Harbours and Piers Funding
 Header Item Single Payment Scheme Appeals
 Header Item Forestry Grants
 Header Item Grant Payments

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 827 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 85 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 546-564

Milk Quota Cessation

 546. 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 who has disposed of their milk quota will be allowed to re-enter dairy farming when milk quotas are abolished; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2374/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney As the Deputy is aware my Department will no longer have any direct involvement in milk supply management after 31 March 2015 when the Milk Quota regime ends. At that point supply will be a matter between the producer and the purchaser and, subject to contractual arrangements with milk purchasers, dairy farmers will be unconstrained by the quota system.

Public Procurement Regulations

 547. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the tendering competition process for licences to operate drinks and snacks mobile units at a location (details supplied) in Dublin 13; the status of existing licences at the location; and the way in which prospective applicants can apply for licences to operate services at this location. [2409/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney My Department is obliged to comply with the Public Procurement Guidelines issued by the Department of Finance when awarding licences to conduct activities at each of the 6 Fishery Harbour Centres. Arrangements with service providers at the 6 Fishery Harbour Centres are kept under review.

Decisions on tendering for new services are decided upon having regard to the appropriateness and suitability of the service, potential impact on other business and services in the area, and implications for operational matters in the harbour. Licences are generally awarded by way of an open public tender process.

Suggestions for new services at Fishery Harbour Centres can be brought to the attention of the Department via the relevant Harbour Master’s office or Sea Fisheries Administration Division in Clonakilty. Decisions on whether to engage in a public tendering process will be made having regard to the considerations outlined above.

Single Payment Scheme Payments

 548. Deputy Michelle Mulherin Information on Michelle Mulherin Zoom on Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the reason for the delay in the single farm payment for 2013 in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Mayo; when the person may expect payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2420/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney My Department received a 2013 Transfer of Entitlements application on 15th   November 2013 from the mother of the person named to transfer 63.58 entitlements to the person named by way of gift.

  Although this application was received after the closing date of 15th May 2013 it was accepted on Force Majeure grounds. The application was processed and acceptance letters were issued on 16th   January 2014. Payment will issue shortly.

Industrial Disputes

 549. 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 measures that will be put in place to ensure that while a dispute between his Department and its officials (details supplied) is going on that farmers and their income will not be affected; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2445/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney In announcing industrial action by technical staff in my Department, IMPACT have stated that their aim is to cause administrative inconvenience to the Department’s management without impacting on farmers or the food industry. I am, of course, concerned to ensure that the issues which gave rise to this industrial action are resolved as quickly as possible and my Department will work with IMPACT within the available industrial relations mechanisms to achieve that outcome. To this end we have issued an invitation to IMPACT to attend discussions tomorrow which they accepted.

Agri-Environment Options Scheme Payments

 550. 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 position regarding an agri-environment options scheme payment in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Limerick; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [2446/14]

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 the 1st  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. During these checks a query arose in respect of land parcels declared by the person named which has now been resolved. Payment for the year 2011 is being processed and will issue shortly and will be followed by payments for 2012 and 2013, subject to validation checks.

Consultancy Contracts Expenditure

 551. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the amount his Department spends on an annual basis in payments to consultancy firms (details supplied). [2470/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The tables detail the payments made to Accenture and Oracle for contract work for the years 2011 to 2013, inclusive.

  The contracts with Accenture are service contracts and following a competitive tendering process will not be renewed in 2014.

  The consultancy allocations below relate to the accreditation and audit requirements of all EU programmes, including the Single Farm Payment, which alone accounts for approx €1.2 billion in payments annually.

  The contract with Oracle is a maintenance contract.

  2011

Company NamePayment amount €Reason for payment(s)  and  details of Contract(s) to which payment relates
Accenture1,359,347IT support to assist in the maintenance and enhancement of the Single Farm Payment (SFP) computer system.
 129,970IT support to assist in the maintenance and enhancement of the Fisheries -Electronic Recording System (ERS).
 270,639IT support to assist in the maintenance and enhancement of the Generic Claims Processing System (GCPS).
Oracle451,680Maintenance, upgrade and support on the installed Oracle Database 10g Spatial Edition, Oracle Application Server and Oracle Integrated Development Environment (IDE) products.


2012   
Company NamePayment amount €Reason for payment(s)  and  details of Contract(s) to which payment relates
Accenture1,130,562IT support to assist in the maintenance and enhancement of the Single Farm Payment (SFP) computer system.
 102,819IT support to assist in the maintenance and enhancement of the Fisheries -Electronic Recording System (ERS).
 244,607IT support to assist in the maintenance and enhancement of the Generic Claims Processing System (GCPS).
Oracle829,409Maintenance, upgrade and support on the installed Oracle Database 10g Spatial Edition, Oracle Application Server and Oracle Integrated Development Environment (IDE) products and  the purchase of additional software licences to facilitate the development of an off-site IT Disaster Recovery facility in compliance with EU Accreditation and Audit requirements.


  2013
Company NamePayment amount €Reason for payment(s)  and  details of Contract(s) to which payment relates
Accenture1,091,874IT support to assist in the maintenance and enhancement of the Single Farm Payment (SFP) computer system.
 110,440IT support to assist in the maintenance and enhancement of the Fisheries -Electronic Recording System (ERS).
 175,487IT support to assist in the maintenance and enhancement of the Generic Claims Processing System (GCPS).
Oracle626,980Maintenance, upgrade and support on the installed Oracle Database 10g Spatial Edition, Oracle Application Server and Oracle Integrated Development Environment (IDE) products and  the purchase of additional software licences to facilitate the development of an off-site IT Disaster Recovery facility in compliance with EU Accreditation and Audit requirements.

Milk Quota Applications

 552. Deputy Sean Sherlock Information on Seán Sherlock Zoom on Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if he will take into account the awarding of discretionary milk quota in respect of persons (details supplied) in County Cork in view of the fact that they have been compliant with all previous systems in place for buying back milk quotas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2501/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Officials in my Department are engaged in ongoing discussions with the named persons, and are examining the background to the case in order to identify a resolution that is both satisfactory to named persons, and compliant with the regulations governing the milk quota regime.

Installation Aid Scheme Applications

 553. Deputy Michael Creed Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the circumstances under which 14 applications for installation aid were processed and paid in 2012; the number of applications still under active consideration by his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [2518/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Fourteen payments were made by my Department under the Young Farmers’ Installation Scheme or the preceding scheme, the Installation Aid Scheme, during the course of 2012. Of these, thirteen concerned payments in respect of applications to enter the schemes which were received prior to the date of suspension of the Young Farmers’ Installation Scheme on 14 October 2008.   

  In the remaining case, payment was made to an applicant who had successfully appealed to the Agriculture Appeals Office that my Department was required to process the file notwithstanding the fact that the application to enter the scheme had been received after the date of suspension referred to above. There have been two such successful appeals to the Agriculture Appeals Office and payment has now been made in both cases.   

  Two further payments were made under the above schemes in 2013 which also related to applications received prior to the date of suspension of 14 October 2008.   

Installation Aid Scheme Applications

 554. Deputy Michael Creed Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney in respect of installation aid applications considered by the agriculture appeals office in 2009, the circumstances surrounding the three successful appeals; the number of those appeals received in 2009 that are still under active consideration; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2520/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Three appellants were successful in their appeals to the Agriculture Appeals Office during the course of 2009 in relation to either the Young Farmers’ Installation Scheme or the Installation Aid Scheme.

  Details of the three cases concerned are as follows:-

SchemeDate of Application To Enter SchemeDate of Appeal DecisionProvision of Scheme
Installation Aid Scheme26 May 200518 August 2009Education Requirements
Installation Aid Scheme15 June 200712 November 2009Minimum Income from Farming
Young Farmers’ Installation Scheme31 July 20082 November 2009Date of Set-Up


  I am advised by the Agriculture Appeals office that, there are no appeals still outstanding from 2009 in regard to either the Installation Aid Scheme or the Young Farmers’ Installation Scheme.

Grant Payments

 555. Deputy Michael Creed Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney further to Parliamentary Question No. 165 of 8 February 2012, in view of the fact that between 2009 and 2010 there were four successful appeals to the agricultural appeals office on installation aid, if he will clarify the situation as per his response; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [2521/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney In my reply to the previous Parliamentary Question referred to by the Deputy regarding the position in relation to farmers who had submitted applications after the suspension of the Young Farmers’ Installation Scheme on 14 October 2008, I informed him that, at that stage, two such applicants had successfully appealed to the Agriculture Appeals Office that their applications should be processed notwithstanding the fact that they had been received by my Department after the date of suspension. Grant payments have now been made in both such cases.

Since my reply to that Parliamentary Question, two further appeals from farmers who submitted applications to my Department after the suspension of the Scheme on 14 October 2008 have been considered by the Agriculture Appeals Office. In both cases, the appeals were rejected by that Office.

In addition to the appeals referred to above, a number of other farmers who submitted applications in good time to my Department were successful in their appeals to the Agriculture Appeals Office in relation to other aspects of the Scheme such as the eligibility of education qualifications, date of set-up, land transfer requirements, etc.

Departmental Funding

 556. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if he will intervene to prevent the collapse of Irish Seed Savers; and reverse the funding cut which has put this important project in jeopardy. [2533/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The Irish Seed Savers Association (ISSA) is one of a number of organisations who carry out important work in the conservation of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture in Ireland. Their funding comes primarily from three sources: the State, membership fees and their own commercial activities (sale of apple trees, plants etc).

  The following table outlines the level of funding provided by my Department to ISSA over the past three years:

YearAmount
2011€149,564
2012€130,000
2013€100,000


  My Department's funding to ISSA is restricted to supporting its core activities in the area of conservation and sustainable use of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture and funding is not intended to cover all costs and expenditures of the Association. The allocation of funding year-on-year should be seen against a backdrop of the prevailing economic climate and the continued pressure on Departmental spending.

  Significantly, funding for ISSA in 2013 was approximately double the total amount of all other financial supports given to organisations engaged in genetic conservation projects, which are involved not only in the plants area but which also includes important projects relating to animals, aquatics, forestry, microorganisms and invertebrates.

  In any event, my Department is positively disposed to continuing its relationship with ISSA and in this regard has provisionally set an increased allocation of €115,000 for the current year. However, funding under the Conservation of Genetic Resources Scheme, which includes payments to ISSA, is subject to EU State Aid rules. Confirmation of the renewal of State Aid approval for this Scheme is awaited from the European Commission and no definitive allocation can be made until this process is completed.

Agriculture Scheme Eligibility

 557. Deputy Michael Ring Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if contact has been made with a person (details supplied) in County Mayo; and the progress that has been made in resolving the dual claim issue in this case. [2534/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Following initial processing of the application of the person named, dual claims were identified in respect of a number of land parcels declared. Query letters have recently issued to both applicants regarding their entitlement to claim the disputed land. Replies have been received, however, in the responses both farmers maintain that they have the right to declare the disputed land. An Official of my Department has made direct contact with the person named with a view to resolving all the outstanding issues.

Severe Weather Events

 558. 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 put a compensation scheme in place for those in the fishing industry who have suffered serious damage to, and in many case destruction of, equipment and gear as a result of the recent storms; if he will accept that for many of the smaller operators this damage could destroy their ability to earn a living; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [2535/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Along with all my colleagues in Government I am acutely aware of the ferocity of the recent storms combined with the exceptionally high tides which in combination have resulted in widespread damage right around the coast. I have been actively assessing the damage to the many small Local Authority piers and harbours right around the coast. I am aware of the critical importance of this local pier and harbour infrastructure to the 1900 odd inshore fishing vessels that provide a backbone to our inshore fishing fleet.

The Government in considering the totality of the impact of the storms decided that the Local Authorities need to do a full assessment of the damage and the costs involved and should revert to Government in the coming weeks. That comprehensive assessment will then enable Government to decide on a fully informed response to the damage that was wreaked on our coastal communities as a result of these exceptionally bad storms.

On the specific issue of Government support for inshore fishermen for losses of equipment or boats, it is useful to recall that there are a range of grant aid schemes already available to inshore fishermen, which are administered by BIM.

There have been some reports in the media about the loss, by some inshore fishermen, of their pots. It is not unusual for inshore fishermen to experience some pot losses through the winter. It is too early to fully determine the scale of the losses and if these were widespread. I will in the coming days be endeavouring to assess the scale of losses that may have occurred.

In deciding on an appropriate response to the situation that emerges I will have to take account of the fact that EU Law limits the options. The EU requires that any financial assistance provided by Government to the seafood sector must always be considered in terms of what is permissible under EU State Aid rules. It is clear that under State Aid rules no aid may be given for the replacement of any lost or damaged fishing boats.

In relation to pots, the European Fisheries Fund Regulation does allow for financial assistance for purchase of pots but only where the replacement pots provide for more selectivity in relation to by-catch and under size fish. Any such assistance to purchase fishing gear may not increase the ability of a vessel to catch fish and would be difficult to implement without the risk of breaching State Aid rules.

However, while all of these constraints and considerations exist, I am still endeavouring to get a full picture of the situation and when that is to hand I will be in a better position to inform Government and determine what responses are practical and appropriate.

Single Payment Scheme Appeals

 559. 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 an appeal against a single farm payment reduction by persons (details supplied) in County Kerry will be accepted; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2549/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney A review of the land declared by the person named under the Single Payment Scheme identified that ineligible features were included on some of the land parcels. The applicant has sought a review of the decision and this review is currently being undertaken. My Department will be in direct contact with the person named regarding the outcome of this review shortly. If the applicant is not satisfied with the outcome of the review he can appeal his case to the Independent LPIS Appeals Committee.

Harbours and Piers Funding

 560. 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 his Department will provide funding to upgrade a commercial pier (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2550/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Screggane Pier is owned by Kerry County Council and responsibility for its repair and maintenance rests with the Local Authority in the first instance.

Under the Fishery Harbour and Coastal Infrastructure Development Programme my Department has, in previous years, provided funding for the development and repair of Local Authority owned harbours, piers and slipways subject to the availability of exchequer funding. Funding for this programme is allocated on an annual basis.

The allocation of funding within the 2014 Programme is currently under consideration. Any application for funding in 2014 or future years by Kerry County Council will be given consideration subject to available exchequer funding and overall national priorities.

Single Payment Scheme Appeals

 561. Deputy Michael Ring Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney when maps will be provided to a person (details supplied) in County Mayo, as requested by me last October; and if the case will be reviewed again as the person believes that no overclaim has occurred.  [2603/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The person named was written to by my Department in August 2013 as part of a review of land parcels declared for the purposes of benefiting from payment under the Single Payment Scheme and other area-based Direct Payment Schemes. The person named was notified about ineligible areas on a number of land parcels declared for the scheme years 2009 and 2010 which had given rise to overpayments in both the scheme years 2009 and 2010. Following a complete review of the circumstances of this case, the penalty applied to each of the scheme years 2009 and 2010 has been reduced by over 90% and refunds will shortly issue to the person named. A complete set of maps outlining the current position has now issued to the person named.

Forestry Grants

 562. 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 further to previous enquiries from this Deputy, if he will confirm when a forestry grant will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2619/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney In respect of the first contract, all grant and premiums have been paid to date. In respect of the second contract, the second instalment of the grant has been withheld due to outstanding remedial works. The applicant’s forester was notified in May 2013 about the outstanding works and the applicant should consult with his forester regarding a timeframe for completion of these works. No further payments will be made on this contract until the site is deemed by the Department to be up to the required standard.

  Question No. 563 withdrawn.

Grant Payments

 564. Deputy Pat Breen Information on Pat Breen Zoom on Pat Breen asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney when payment of a grant will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2684/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Processing of this case has recently been finalised and payment is due to issue shortly.


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