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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 189 to 197
 Header Item Refugee Status Applications
 Header Item Consultancy Contracts Data
 Header Item Defence Forces Personnel
 Header Item Horse and Greyhound Fund
 Header Item Consultancy Contracts Data
 Header Item Agriculture Scheme Payments
 Header Item Agri-Environment Options Scheme Applications
 Header Item Rural Environment Protection Scheme Payments
 Header Item Departmental Research Programmes

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 827 No. 3

First Page Previous Page Page of 77 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 189 to 197

Refugee Status Applications

 189. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the current and-or expected residency status in the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 24; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [3462/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The person concerned was issued with a formal declaration of refugee status by letter dated 2 March 2002. This position still obtains.

  This communication advised the person concerned of the rights and entitlements accompanying refugee status in the State.   

  An application for a Travel Document was received in respect of the person concerned on 13 January 2014. This application was refused and returned in full on the same date as it was deemed to be incomplete. The person concerned was advised of the reasons for the refusal and informed to apply again following the renewal of his registration with the local immigration office. Todate, no further application for a Travel Document has been received in respect of the person concerned.

Consultancy Contracts Data

 190. Deputy Tom Fleming Information on Tom Fleming Zoom on Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Defence Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if he will provide details of all consultancy firms engaged by his Department during 2013; if he will further provide details of all the relevant fees paid to these firms during this period; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3207/14]

Minister for Defence (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The table following sets out details of consultants paid by my Department for providing consultancy services in 2013:

FirmNature of ServiceAmount
Bianconi Research LtdICT Security Advice & Support€30,645
Frank Callanan, SCIndependent review of UNIFIL fatalities in 1989€51,660
Sandra McDonaldProvision of taxation advice€6,000
Jacques MichaudReview of the Air Corps’ Safety Management System€20,000
Fujitsu (Ireland) Ltd.Network Support Services, Software development & Maintenance Services€137,133
Central Health & Safety Services LtdReview of Health & Safety€3,998


  In addition, my Department pays an annual fee to Oracle EMEA Ltd in respect of Information Technology Annual Licences and support in the ongoing provision of the Department’s financial management system. The fee paid in 2013 was €1,024,856.

  It has not been possible in the time available to compile information on consultancy services commissioned by the Defence Forces. As soon as this information is available, it shall be sent on to the Deputy.

Defence Forces Personnel

 191. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn asked the Minister for Defence Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter his plans to review the current stipulation that privates and corporals in the Defence Forces must retire after 21 years' service.  [3375/14]

Minister for Defence (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The unsatisfactory age and fitness profile of the Permanent Defence Force was an issue of serious concern during the 1990s and was the subject of severe criticism by a series of external reports, mainly Price Waterhouse Consultants and the Efficiency Audit Group (EAG). One of the key areas identified for urgent action by the EAG was the development of a manpower policy with an emphasis on lowering the age profile of Permanent Defence Force personnel. The EAG’s report was accepted by Government in 1995.

In an effort to alleviate the situation, the Government had already decided in 1993 to enlist personnel on a five year contract basis, following consultation with Permanent Defence Force Other Ranks Representative Association (PDFORRA). In 1997 agreement was reached with PDFORRA on a new manpower policy for the Defence Forces. This policy, applying to personnel enlisted after 1 January 1994, provided that service for Private Soldiers would initially be for five years with the option to be extended to a maximum of twelve years, subject to meeting standards of medical and physical fitness and conduct. Longer periods of service were envisaged for Non Commissioned Officers.

In 2004 PDFORRA submitted a claim under the Conciliation and Arbitration Scheme for a further review of the terms of service applying to personnel enlisting in the Permanent Defence Force after 1 January, 1994. A set of criteria was agreed with PDFORRA to provide longer careers for those who enlisted post 1 January 1994 while continuing to address the Government’s objective of having an appropriate age profile to meet the challenges of a modern Defence Forces.

The criteria require that any person re-engaging after 12 years service must be able to continue to operate at their current level both at home and overseas on an ongoing basis. Re-engagement is subject to the individual soldier meeting specified criteria in regard to physical fitness, medical category, successful completion of military courses of instruction, service overseas and conduct ratings.

The maximum service period for these personnel is as follows:

- Enlisted Personnel, up to and including the rank of Corporal (and equivalent Naval Service rank), may not serve beyond 21 years service;

- Enlisted Personnel, in the rank of Sergeant (and equivalent Naval Service rank), may be permitted to continue in service up to the age of fifty years;

- Enlisted Personnel in all higher ranks may serve to the age of fifty-six.

With the approach of 2015 the first effects of the agreement, whereby Privates and Corporals may not serve beyond 21 years, will be felt by Permanent Defence Force members in those ranks. A claim has been received from PDFORRA for a further review in relation to this matter. In accordance with normal procedures the Association’s claim is being dealt with under the Conciliation and Arbitration Scheme for members of the Permanent Defence Force. As discussions under the Scheme are confidential to the parties involved it would not be appropriate for me to comment further on the matter at this time, other than to emphasise that in dealing with this issue the manpower and operational needs of the Defence Forces must be the primary consideration.

It is intended to finalise negotiations with the Representative Association as soon as possible in 2014.

Horse and Greyhound Fund

 192. 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 the State funding that is given to the Irish Responsible Gambling Board directly or indirectly through the Horse and Greyhound Racing Fund. [3219/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Government support for the horse and greyhound racing industries is provided under the Horse and Greyhound Racing Fund which was established under Section 12 of the Horse and Greyhound Racing Act, 2001. In accordance with the provisions of the Act monies from the Fund are distributed 80% to Horse Racing Ireland and 20% to Bord na gCon.

My Department does not provide funding to the Irish Responsible Gambling Board. Horse Racing Ireland and Bord na gCon are commercial state bodies and decisions relating to day to day expenditure in such bodies are a matter for the relevant CEOs and their boards, subject to compatibility with their statutory functions.

Consultancy Contracts Data

 193. 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 provide details of all consultancy firms engaged by his Department during 2013; if he will further provide details of all the relevant fees paid to these firms during this period; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3203/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney My Department uses private contractors, consultants and agencies to provide certain services when such an approach is more cost effective. This can include services such as specialised laboratory services, computer services, legal advice or independent auditing services.

  The information requested can be found in the following table.

Consultant/Consultancy CompanyNature of WorkExpenditure in 2013

MazarsAssist in the provision of IT Audit Expertise to the Internal Audit Unit.61,500
Drima Marketing LtdCollation, analysis and communication of national wood harvest and trade data on behalf of DAFM, and transmission of data to Eurostat, FAO, the international Energy Agency and other bodies, compilation of support documentation and data related to the CITES convention 34,668
Danish Forestry ExtensionWood Energy advisory service (www.woodenergy,ie) and production of publications on wood energy15,173
Gordon Knaggs & AssociatesWood Product specification and advisory service4,920
Henry Phillips, Forestry ConsultantProfessional advice and analysis in relation to the national forest policy review, forest management planning systems and forecasting, and forest valuation11,980
PURSER Tarleton Russell LtdMaintenance of and updating of the national forest growth and yield system (GROWFOR), and related workshops and queries2,043
Smith Carter - an American specialist Biocontainment Engineering consultancy firmThis company was retained following a procurement process managed by the OPW for the purpose of designing and commissioning the amelioration of the high containment virology CAT 4 facility at the DAFM laboratories at Backweston, Celbridge, Co. Kildare. 192,646
EspionQuarterly independent assessments of the Department’s IT security measures and Biannual independent security review of the Department's IT infrastructure as required for EU accreditation purposes, and independent web facing application testing.18,825
NTA Monitor LimitedQuarterly independent assessments of the Department’s IT security measures and Biannual independent security review of the Department's IT infrastructure as required for EU accreditation purposes and independent web facing application testing.16,162
Compass Informatics Ltd.Independent specialist review of all Geographical Information based computer systems in the Department, carried out as part of the effective and efficient administration of the Department’s EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) based payment schemes.7,165
Fitzpatrick Associates Economic ConsultantsEx Ante Evaluation, Strategic Environmental Assessment and Appropriate Assessment of the 2014 – 2020 Rural Development Programme48,400
Malachy Walsh & PartnersConsultancy services for An Daingean FHC Marina Pontoons Replacement and Smart Water Metering 23,236
Malachy Walsh & PartnersConsultancy services for Castletownbere FHC New Gangway & Pontoon System15,169
Ove Arup & Partners IrelandStructural Engineering Consultancy for the East Pier at Howth FHC91, 260
CST groupTraffic Management Consultancy for Howth FHC and Structural Engineering Consultancy for Killybegs FHC9,474
Jennings O’DonovanStructural Engineering Consultancy for Safety Mooring at Killybegs FHC and Traffic Management Consultancy for Killybegs FHC9,723
LMCStructural Engineering Consultancy for Howth FHC4,305
RPSCivil Engineering Consultancy for Environmental Remediation project at Howth FHC51,752
WYG Engineering (NI) LtdElectrical Engineering Consultancy for Howth FHC26,826
Moore GroupEnvironmental Consultancy for the small craft harbour at Killybegs FHC4,703
ArupProvision of Consultancy Services for the Proposed Maintenance Dredging of Contaminated Sediment at Dunmore East FHC, Co. Waterford.13,284
E-Project Chartered Architects LtdProvision of Architectural led Design Team to Renovate, Remodel & Extend the Harbour Building at Dunmore East FHC,

Co. Waterford

5,830
Mott MacDonald GroupSewer Data Gathering and local Sewer Design at Dunmore FHC, Co. Waterford12,453
Malone O’ReganProvision of Consultancy Services for The Bull’s Nose & Storm Gate for North Harbour, Cape Clear, Co. Cork 93,773
Crime Management Group Ltd.ISPS Port Security Plan Castletownbere3,198
Norfolk Marine Ltd.Survey works report to Killybegs FHC10,828
DeloitteDepartment of Agriculture, Food and the Marine – Annual Accounts Certification as required by EU legislation.468,277

Agriculture Scheme Payments

 194. Deputy Paudie Coffey Information on Paudie Coffey Zoom on Paudie Coffey asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney when a single farm payment will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Waterford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3224/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney My Department has no record of the person named having lodged an application under the 2013 Single Payment Scheme. An official from my Department will be in direct contact with the person to clarify the situation.

Agri-Environment Options Scheme Applications

 195. 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 the reason a person (details supplied) in County Roscommon was excluded from the new agri-environment options scheme in view of the fact that they have callows land which should have made them eligible for the new scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3295/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney An application under the Agri-Environment Options Scheme from the person named was received in my Department on 28 November 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).

  Based on the funding available farmers in category 4 with 22.06 hectares of utilisable agricultural area and below were successful. Category 4 farmers with areas greater than this and all farmers in category 5 were unsuccessful. On the basis of his application form, the person named came under category 5 as he had not previously participated in REPS. On this basis a letter issued to him informing him that he was unsuccessful and setting out the reasons.

  An appeal was received stating that the applicant had Natura (callows) land which was omitted from both the 2012 SPS application and from the AEOS application. If an applicant had Natura land they would have qualified for the Scheme under selection criteria 2 i.e. farmers with a minimum of 0.5 ha of designated land. The Terms and Conditions require that in order to gain entry to the scheme Natura land must be declared on the 2012 Single Payment Application and on a Sustainable Management Plan, signed by planner, as part of their AEOS application form. As the person named did not meet these requirements his appeal was disallowed on 20th  September, 2013 and he was given the right to appeal this decision to the Agriculture Appeals Office.

  The person named has now submitted an appeal to the Agriculture Appeals Office and the matter is being examined. The person named will be notified of the outcome of the appeal in due course.

Rural Environment Protection Scheme Payments

 196. Deputy Noel Harrington Information on Noel Harrington Zoom on Noel Harrington asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney when a person (details supplied ) will receive their final REP scheme payment for 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3316/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The person named commenced REPS 4 in June 2008 and received payments for the first five years of their contract.

REPS 4 is a measure under the current 2007-13 Rural Development Programme and is subject to EU Regulations which require detailed administrative checks on all applications to be completed before any payments can issue. This process has now been completed for 2013 payments and the 75% Year 6 payment amounting to €7,669.56 issued for payment to the person named on 17 January 2014. The remaining 25% balancing payment amounting to €2,556.51 issued for payment on 20 January 2014.

Departmental Research Programmes

 197. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the research that has been commissioned by his Department in relation to climate change mitigation and or adaptation over the past year; and if he will supply a copy of the terms of reference for any such research. [3327/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney My Department funds research undertaken collaboratively by Teagasc and the higher education institutes, through a competitive Call for Proposals process primarily under our agricultural production (Stimulus) and forestry (CoFoRD) research funding programmes.

  Grant award announcements I made under this process in 2013 included the provision of €504,115 for a project entitled ‘Precision Nutrition for improved animal productivity, product quality and environmental sustainability’ which, inter alia, is looking at reducing enteric methane production from dairy cows.

  In addition, a number of other research projects funded by my Department relating to climate change mitigation and/or adaptation, are currently on-going arising from earlier grant announcements. These include, for example, commitments of €1.69 million to the Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Initiative for Ireland’ network and involving collaboration between a number research institutes on the island of Ireland announced on 12 December 2011 and €1.25 million for two further projects focusing on reducing nitrous oxide emissions announced on 26 November 2012. Details of all these research projects can be found on the Department’s website,www.agriculture.gov.ie,  under ‘press’ and ‘research’.


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