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 Header Item Written Answers Nos 659-676
 Header Item Control of Horses
 Header Item Tax Code
 Header Item Severe Weather Events Response
 Header Item Equine Data
 Header Item Salmon Hardship Scheme
 Header Item Agriculture Scheme Payments
 Header Item Agriculture Scheme Eligibility
 Header Item Single Payment Scheme Payments
 Header Item Turbary Rights
 Header Item Agri-Environment Options Scheme Payments
 Header Item Tuberculosis Eradication Programme Administration
 Header Item Forestry Grants
 Header Item Agriculture Scheme Eligibility

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 839 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 102 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos 659-676

Control of Horses

 659. 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 in view of the fact that 80% of horses seized by local authorities are being destroyed, if he will take action to lift the effective ban on re-homing from county pounds as a result of the release fees being in excess of €1,000. [19186/14]

 662. Deputy Ann Phelan Information on Ann Phelan Zoom on Ann Phelan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if his Department has a policy on discouraging the re-homing of equines impounded by local authorities; the amount his Department pay each local authority per equine impounded under the following circumstances; equine impounded, kept for five days then euthanised, equine impounded, kept for five days then reclaimed by owner, equine impounded, kept for five days then re-homed through an animal rescue organisation and-or equine impounded, kept for five days then re-homed by a person who is not the owner of the horse; the amount the different pounds charge the local authorities for the same services per horse; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [19321/14]

 663. Deputy Ann Phelan Information on Ann Phelan Zoom on Ann Phelan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if his Department does not have a policy that discourages the local authorities from re-homing animals, he will remove the fee now being imposed on rescue organisations who wish to re-home; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [19328/14]

 664. Deputy Ann Phelan Information on Ann Phelan Zoom on Ann Phelan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney when animals are euthanised in the pounds throughout the country, the method used; if it is not by barbiturate injection then why is this so; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19329/14]

 665. Deputy Ann Phelan Information on Ann Phelan Zoom on Ann Phelan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if any mares in foal are euthanised once they have been impounded; the number that were euthanised in 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19330/14]

 666. Deputy Ann Phelan Information on Ann Phelan Zoom on Ann Phelan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the amount his Department spent in 2013 on impounding and killing equines; the amount the local authorities spent in 2013 by county on impounding and killing equines; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19331/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney I propose to take Questions Nos. 659 and 662 to 666, inclusive, together.

  The Control of Horses Act, 1996 was introduced to address serious problems being caused by straying horses wandering onto public roads and lands and posing risks to the public, especially motorists, and young children and property (both public and private). Local authorities have responsibility for implementing the Act and for setting fees. Under the legislation, as Minister for Agriculture, I may offer assistance to local authorities towards expenses incurred in implementation of the Act and in this regard, an amount of €3.025m was provided in 2013 to local authorities.

  In regard to re-homing, my Department supports all efforts towards re-homing as evidenced in the re-homing undertaken following the large number of horse seizures in Cork last autumn. My Department offers local authorities €200 towards the re-homing of each horse. Unfortunately it is not possible to re-home all equines because of the substantial numbers involved and the cost of keeping a horse. Where re-homing is not an option, €450 is available to local authorities for the costs associated with disposal. In an effort to ensure increased re-homing of unwanted horses, I provided funding of €1.8m to assist animal welfare organisations in their activities in 2014. I specifically increased funding to those organisations involved in horse welfare activities to ensure sufficient resources are available to cater for any difficulties arising in the area of horse welfare over the coming year. In this regard funding of €210,000 was provided to both the ISPCA and the DSPCA to enable these organisations to continue their work in rescuing horses and absorb some costs associated with re-homing horses.

  The relevant legislation in relation to euthanasia of all animals is primarily Council Regulation (EC) No 1099/2009 of 24th   September 2009, on the protection of animals at the time of killing. It sets out the various methods that are appropriate for different species including horses and all euthanasia must be carried out humanely in accordance with the legislation.

  My Department continues to stress that it is the responsibility of horse owners to ensure the welfare of horses in their ownership and/or their care and to dispose of them appropriately. My Department will, in conjunction with the local authorities and An Garda Siochana, continue to adopt a pro-active approach in relation to horse welfare and will remove at-risk animals and, where appropriate, institute prosecution relating to any mal-treatment of these animals. I recently introduced new legislation, namely the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013, which places clear obligations on owners regarding the need to look after animals in their care. My Department has been operating an Animal Welfare Helpline for some time with a view to enabling persons who are concerned about the welfare of horses or indeed any animal to contact the Department at email animalwelfare@agriculture.gov.ie   and on lo-call 1850 211 990.

  The table below, which is based on the information provided to my Department by local authorities, sets out details of amounts paid to Local authorities for 2013 in their operation of the

  Control of Horses Act.

City/County Co'sPaid 2013No. Of Horses seized

2013
No. of Horses Euthanised 2013No. of Horses reclaimed 2013No. of Horses rehomed 2013
Carlow Co. Council79,076.518265410
Cavan Co. Council00000
Clare Co. Council68,436.954737100
Cork Co. Council113,992.80227144782
Cork City Council75,014.47173120476
Donegal Co. Council29,070.27402992
Dublin City Council239,471.43332303210
Sth Dublin Co. Council220,582.863242852316
Dunlaoghaire/Rathdown Co Council41,467.86614075
Fingal Co. Council65,888.7411796151
Galway City Council00000
Galway Co. Council282,081.88327283638
Kerry Co. Council41,240.50373214
Kildare Co. Council160,256.23322308131
Kilkenny Co. Council81,906.92998133
Laois Co. Council184,868.072201711823
Leitrim Co. Council8,142.24222002
Limerick Co. Council115,936.5713012541
Limerick City Council208,499.56222206140
Longford Co. Council8,479.6625676
Louth Co. Council63,216.531451072612
Mayo Co. Council92,479.002021011100
Meath Co. Council90,448.4817216126
Monaghan Co. Council27,946.80968673
Offaly Co. Council35,100.716045015
Roscommon Co. Council106,549.32235197103
Sligo Co. Council39,732.508970415
Tipperary (North Riding) Co. Council60,384.58928390
Tipperary (South Riding) Co. Council73,597.63123103713
Waterford City Council47,284.165944140
Waterford Co. Council23,315.22181620
Westmeath Co. Council77,723.03118691135
Wexford Co. Council76,992.151631271016
Wicklow Co. Council186,415.583543191715
Totals3,025,599.214,7333879381363

Tax Code

 660. Deputy Áine Collins Information on Áine Collins Zoom on Áine Collins asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if he will provide details of any tax incentives available to landowners leasing-renting their land for conacre.  [19220/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney There is no taxation measure aimed at incentivising conacre. However an “Exemption of certain income from leasing of farm land” has been in place for a number of years to encourage longer-term leasing.

There have been some modifications to this measure to enhance its attractiveness since it was introduced. Currently it provides a tax exemption for the first €12,000 of annual leasing income where the lease is for a term of at least 5 years; €15,000 where the lease is for a term of at least 7 years; and €20,000 where the lease is for a term of at least 10 years. The lessor must be aged 40 years or over, or be permanently incapacitated from farming. Leases between close relatives do not qualify.

I have on-going contact with the Minister for Finance to ensure that tax policy reflects the Government’s commitment to agriculture and, in particular, to the objectives of smart, green, growth outlined in the Food Harvest 2020 strategy. A review of tax measures in the farming sector, a joint initiative between my Department and the Department of Finance, was announced in Budget 2014 and is now underway.

Severe Weather Events Response

 661. 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 if he will introduce a scheme whereby forestry owners who have had their forests destroyed by wind damage will receive compensation to replant and to harvest the timber that was damaged; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19319/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The storm earlier in the year has indeed been damaging to Irish forests particularly in the south of the country. In order to establish the most appropriate response for forest owners and the forest industry a taskforce, chaired by Mr Tom Hayes TD, Minister of State, and comprising the Irish Forest and Forest Products Association, the Irish Timber Growers Association, the Irish Farmers Association, Coillte Teoranta and Teagasc, has been put in place to assess the damage nationally and to identify the various issues arising.

The taskforce has issued a guidance note for forest owners, laying down the steps to consider in safely harvesting and selling the fallen trees and giving advice on a range of other associated issues. Teagasc, in association with Coillte and my Department recently held two very successful events on managing storm damage in farm forests. These events were attended by over 400 forest owners. Teagasc forestry advisers continue to be available to discuss the issue with forest owners affected. Forest owners are also urged to get professional advice from qualified foresters to guide them through this process.

While direct financial support is not being provided to those whose forests were destroyed in the storm, I can confirm that any premium payments that have not yet been paid for 2014 will be paid even if these forests have been affected by this windblow event.

  Questions Nos. 662 to 666, inclusive, answered with Question No. 659.

Equine Data

 667. Deputy Ann Phelan Information on Ann Phelan Zoom on Ann Phelan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the number of equines that were exported live for Ireland for slaughter in Europe in 2013; the number of thoroughbred equines that are sent to factories here each year for 2012, 2013 and to date in 2014; the number of other equines that are sent to factories here each year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19332/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The numbers of horses slaughtered for human consumption at approved equine slaughter establishments during the years in question are as set out in the table below. Records maintained at the slaughter establishments do not distinguish between thoroughbred and other equines.   

  No applications for certification of horses for export for slaughter were received by my Department in 2013.

YEARNO. OF HORSES
201224,362
201310,711
2014 (up to 31st March 2014)2,055

Salmon Hardship Scheme

 668. 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 provide a breakdown of the moneys paid out from the salmon hardship scheme; to whom; and the monitoring that was undertaken to ensure the money was spent on what it was provided for. [19406/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The Salmon Hardship Scheme is the responsibility of the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources and I have no role in relation to the scheme.

Agriculture Scheme Payments

 669. 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 further to Parliamentary Question No. 193 of 29 January 2014, when a person (details supplied) in County Cork will receive their AEOS 3 payment for 2013; when they will receive all outstanding payments from the grassland sheep scheme for 2010 and 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19424/14]

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 Agri-Environment Options Scheme (AEOS 3) with effect from 1 May 2013.

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. These checks are well under way and payments for AEOS 3 in respect of 2013 will commence shortly.

An application under the 2010 Grassland Sheep Scheme was received from the person named in respect of 95 Breeding Ewes. Subsequent to the processing of this application an amendment to reduce the number of Breeding Ewes was received and the application reviewed in light of this new information. Payments under the 2011 Grassland Sheep Scheme have issued to the nominated bank account of the person named with no further payment due.

Agriculture Scheme Eligibility

 670. 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 status of entitlements in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Wexford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19442/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The person named entered the Early Retirement Scheme in 1999 at which time she leased her land to another farmer. The conditions of the Early Retirement Scheme prohibit a return to farming but she is free to dispose of her land by lease or sale as normal.

As the person retired in 1999, she did not farm during the reference period of 2000 to 2002 and did not establish entitlements under the Single Payment Scheme and therefore is not eligible to participate in the new Basic Payment Scheme which takes effect in 2015.

Single Payment Scheme Payments

 671. 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 single farm payment appeal will be finalised in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19447/14]

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 revealed that the eligible areas of several land parcels were over-declared. While the person named has appealed this finding, it is necessary that a Department official carry out a land verification check to determine the actual position on the ground. The person named will be notified, in writing, of the outcome of the visit when completed.

Turbary Rights

 672. 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 further to Parliamentary Question No. 558 of 4 February 2014, the history of the plot in question; his views that this plot was vested in the person named; his views that the successor to that vested interest is now in limbo; the options available to this person; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19470/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The right of turbary to plot 1Q4 in the townland of Cloonkeelaun is registered as appurtenant to Folios SL12378 and SL16764F. Neither of these folios is registered in the individual named. It would therefore appear that any question relating to the title to this right of turbary is a civil matter between the registered owners on the folios and the individual named. As already stated the ownership of the fee simple for the plot in question is held by me as successor to the former Irish Land Commission and is not presently for sale.

Agri-Environment Options Scheme Payments

 673. 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) in County Cork will receive their payments relating to AEOS for 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19490/14]

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 Agri-Environment Options Scheme (AEOS 3) with effect from 1 May 2013.

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.

A review of the land declared by the person named under the Single Payment Scheme revealed that the eligible area of several land parcels were over-declared. An official from my Department has carried out a land verification check to determine the eligibility issues. The file is being processed and upon completion a letter will issue to the person named advising him of the position.

Tuberculosis Eradication Programme Administration

 674. Deputy Michael Moynihan Information on Michael Moynihan Zoom on Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney in view of ongoing practices relating to TB testing, if it is still the position of his Department that a test must take place when an animal reaches six weeks old, it must have a TB test done to be sold at mart; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19602/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney There has been no change in the EU and national rules relating to TB testing under which all animals on a holding, with the exception of calves under six weeks old born in the holding, must be subjected to routine tuberculin testing at yearly intervals. A valid TB test within 12 months of any movement is required for all bovine animals over 6-weeks of age.

Forestry Grants

 675. Deputy Michael Moynihan Information on Michael Moynihan Zoom on Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the position regarding afforestation grants (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19604/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The storm earlier in the year has indeed been damaging to Irish forests particularly in the south of the country. In order to establish the most appropriate response for forest owners and the forest industry a taskforce, chaired by Mr Tom Hayes TD, Minister of State, and comprising the Irish Forest and Forest Products Association, the Irish Timber Growers Association, the Irish Farmers Association, Coillte Teoranta and Teagasc has been put in place to assess the damage nationally and to identify the various issues arising.

The taskforce has issued a guidance note for forest owners, laying down the steps to consider in safely harvesting and selling the fallen trees and giving advice on a range of other associated issues. Teagasc, in association with Coillte and my Department recently held two very successful events on managing storm damage in farm forests. These events were attended by over 400 forest owners. Teagasc forestry advisers continue to be available to discuss the issue with forest owners affected. Forest owners are also urged to get professional advice from qualified foresters to guide them through this process.

While direct financial support is not being provided to those whose forests were damaged and subsequently cleared following the storm, I can confirm that any premium payments that have not yet been paid for 2014 will be paid even if these forests have been affected by this windblow event.

Agriculture Scheme Eligibility

 676. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney when a payment on a revised area on a single farm and disadvantaged area aid scheme application will issue in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry. [19625/14]

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 revealed that the eligible areas of several land parcels were over-declared. In order to confirm the position on the ground, it was necessary that a Department official conduct a land verification check to determine the eligibility issues. The file is being processed following completion of the verification visit and, upon completion, a letter will issue to the person named advising him of the position.


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